Evaluation in philanthropy – with staff assigned to evaluation-related responsibilities – began in the 1970s and has evolved, along with philanthropy, in the four decades since. What has not changed, however, is a regular questioning of what foundations are doing on evaluation, especially since the world of philanthropy regularly shifts, and changes in evaluation resourcing and positioning tend to soon follow.
This article presents new findings about what foundations are doing on evaluation and discusses their implications. It is based on 2012 research that benchmarks the positioning, resourcing, and function of evaluation in foundations, and follows up on a 2009 study that used a similar design.
The participating foundations were surveyed and interviewed. They were asked about the range of activities they used to produce evaluative information about grantmaking, perceptions about the adequacy staff time and money for evaluation, and how and how well they use evaluative information throughout the life cycle of grantmaking programs and strategies.
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Questions what foundations are doing on evaluation as the world of philanthropy regularly shifts and changes in evaluation resourcing and positioning tend to soon follow.
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Julia Coffman, Tonya Beer, Patricia Patrizi, Elizabeth Heid Thompson
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