“I have the report- now what?” 7 Questions to Ask When Reading Program Evaluations

Program evaluations provide answers to a key question: “Did this program work in a particular population and setting?” For funders who haven’t been trained in reading evaluations, wading through such reports can be confusing and time-consuming. So, to get the most out of program evaluations, here are 7 questions to ask when reading them.

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Catagories: The Philanthropic Sector, Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Old Standards, Codes, Ethics









10 – Minute Impact Assessment

We all want to have impact—or, in simpler terms, make a real difference. How do we get there? This simple tool will give you a framework for discussing impact; help you identify areas of strength and opportunities for increasing your impact; and give you tips and resources to strengthen specific areas in your journey toward greater impact.

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Catagories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









A Self-reflection Tool for Black Trustees on Foundation Boards

ABFE brings a point of view: Black trustees who sit at tables of power and influence have a unique opportunity to significantly influence outcomes for Black communities by “leveraging the trust” that they hold as trustees. A companion to ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities: A Framework and Agenda for Change, this tool discusses the unique role of Black trustees and opportunities for reflection as they fulfill their roles.  ABFE encourages the use of this tool as a way to make a difference for Black communities.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









Activating the Power of Place: A Case Study of Market Creek

This article tells the story of a placed-based initiative to develop well-being and wealth in the historically underserved Diamond Neighborhood in San Diego, and discusses the place-based philosophy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the foundation’s motivation for place-based work. Its theory of change is presented through examples, along with the entry points the foundation chose for engagement and how it developed community capacity to engage effectively in this change work. The article also discusses plans to transition ownership to the Diamond Neighborhood community when the foundation sunsets in 2030.

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Catagories: Issue Specific Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









Aggregate Regional Association Logic Model

This logic model is an aggregation of key activities that you perform as a regional association (RA). It was developed in conjunction with RAs that attended Innovation Network’s evaluation session at the 2013 Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers Annual Conference, and was further vetted by a group of RA representatives before being finalized. The purpose of this aggregate logic model is to provide RAs with a springboard to build their own logic models and other planning documents. A logic model is a visual representation of the work that you are doing and how it is connected to changes that Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









An Assessment of Capacity Building in Washington State

An assessment of capacity building in Washington State and one of the first frameworks for understanding community capacity. This study looks at capacity building from a strategic, statewide perspective and provides a framework for thinking systematically about capacity-building investments at a state or community level; an assessment of the capacity building landscape; and opportunities for investment in: Capacity-building at the individual nonprofit level – grants directly to nonprofits, or through local intermediaries with particular emphasis on small- and mid-sized organizations. Strengthening the nonprofit ecosystems of specific local communities – through grants to local capacity-building institutions, or by convening local partners to identify/prioritize weak or missing elements Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: Do We Know What We Are Doing?

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 Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices

For foundations, there are lots of questions to reflect on when thinking about which evaluation practices best align with their strategy, culture, and mission. How much should a foundation invest in evaluation? What can they do to ensure that the information they receive from evaluation is useful to them? With whom should they share what they have learned? Considering these numerous questions in light of benchmarking data about what other foundations are doing can be informative and important. Developed in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI), Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practicesis the most comprehensive data collection effort to date Read more

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Catagories: The Philanthropic Sector, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Old Standards, Codes, Ethics









Beyond the NPR Crowd: How Evaluation Influenced Grantmaking at the California Council for the Humanities

This article describes an initiative designed to engage a broad cross section of Californians in the humanities. Initial findings from book reading groups were that participants were predominantly white, middle-aged women. Changing the type of programming to include poetry slams, photography, digital media, and writing programs broadened participation of various ages and ethnic groups. The location of the program also made a difference, with schools and community-based organizations drawing more diverse audiences than libraries.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









Big Issues, Many Questions

What it takes for a foundation to be effective is difficult to master, yet timeless. At the same time, however, there are current trends that foundation leaders and boards must pay attention to if they want to be as effective as possible. In this essay, Big Issues, Many Questions, CEP President Phil Buchanan explores the five most pressing issues facing U.S. foundations in 2016. From growing dissatisfaction with the so-called establishment to embracing collaboration and aligned action, these are the trends that foundation CEOs and boards cannot overlook or ignore.

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Catagories: History, Role in Society, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , The Philanthropic Sector, Strategy and Evaluation









Breaking Down Creative Placemaking

Across the country, community leaders are talking more and more about the field of creative placemaking. But what exactly does it mean? What kind of impact could it have on your community, and how can you play a role in deciding what happens?

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Building a Strategic Learning and Evaluation System for Your Organization

The call for evaluation has grown louder in the field of philanthropy. There is a need for a deeper understanding of ongoing activities to inform strategic decisions about what to do next. But despite this growing need, current practices are often uncoordinated and unhelpful at an organizational level. How can organizations’ evaluation processes be more systematic, coordinated, and intentional, leading to greater understanding of their impact?

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









Center for Community Foundation Excellence Series

These courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field in short order. You’ll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field, to help you work more effectively.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









CFLeads White Paper: Community Foundations and Community Leadership

This white paper explores the imperatives – both market and moral – for a community foundation to embrace community leadership.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Co-Creation Resources

“Co-Creation” is a case study about the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The case study, written by Patricia Bowie, examines co-creation, an emerging systems change collaboration model which grew out of a funder-and-state partnership. This unique partnership led to the creation by executive order of a new and independent Office of Early Childhood, which was formally approved by the Connecticut State Legislature in 2013. The new case study is significant, as there is much written about funder partnerships and collaboration success stories, but little discussion on different kinds of collaborative ventures and Read more

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation









Co-Creation: Viewing Partnerships Through A New Lens

Collaboration remains an on-going discourse throughout the funder community, but little has been written about explorations or innovations into different ways of working collectively, beyond what was established decades ago. For large-scale systems change, co-creation may be a more fitting approach; it acknowledges self-interest, existing alongside shared goals and purpose, as necessary to sustain voluntary efforts. Co-creation is predicated on the notion that traditional topdown planning or decision-making should give way to a more flexible participatory structure, where diverse constituencies are invited in to collectively solve problems. This case study examines the partnership of the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, the Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Come On In, The Water’s Fine: An Exploration of Web 2.0 Technology and Its Emerging Impact on Foundation Communications

Foundations that have adopted new and still emerging forms of digital communications—interactive Web sites, blogs, wikis, and social networking applications—are finding that they offer “opportunities for focused convenings and conversations, lend themselves to interactions with and among grantees, and are an effective story-telling medium.” Acknowledging that adoption of new media tools will require some cultural and operational shifts in foundations, the report urges foundations to: Build up the individual “human capital” of their staffs and provide them the competencies they need to operate in the new digital world. Make internal institutional reforms to reward creativity and innovation in using these Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









DIY Strategy Improvements: 10 Activities for Community Foundations

We’ve put together a set of activities that The Giving Practice has used with all kinds of community and private foundations. Our clients have used these activities to support an ongoing strategy practice, versus a discrete strategic planning process. Some activities we created with our clients. Others we’ve adapted from the field. You can customize each for use during routine meetings or even informal conversations as well as designated learning opportunities like retreats and strategy reviews. Most of what you’ll find here is for everyday use, when there is no consultant and not a lot of time for preparation or Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









Doing What it Takes: Organizing Your Foundation For Impact

In this video, Paul Grogan discusses how The Boston Foundation has taken on a significant community leadership role in addition to its stewardship and grantmaking roles. Hear how The Boston Foundation: uses research to help guide its direction gathers citizen input to inform its activities makes the most of communications to promote its work and directly engages in public policy activity to ensure a deep and long-lasting impact.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Enhancing Foundation Capacity: The Role of the Senior Leadership Team

This article examines the issue of foundation organization design and assesses how foundation leaders might think about their organizations as institutions. Noting that any organization structure inhabited by human beings creates silos and territorial issues, foundation leaders are increasingly using two primary mechanisms to minimize these artificial barriers and maximize collaboration: enhanced headquarters functions to help integrate across the organization, and senior leadership teams. This article reviews the structure, roles, responsibilities, and value-add of senior leadership teams at 19 foundations. The senior leadership team plays a crucial role in foundations, functioning as an advisory group to the president and chief Read more

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Catagories: Human Resources Management, Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Developing Your Talent and Leadership









Essentials of Foundation Strategy

What separates more strategic foundation leaders from less strategic ones? This research explores the state of strategy at foundations today and identifies behaviors and practices common to more strategic leaders. Case studies and interviews included in the report highlight strategic best practices.

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Catagories: Strategic Philanthropy, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Evaluating Complexity

While evaluation has traditionally focused on assessing programmatic impact according to pre-determined indicators, a new approach is needed for evaluating complex initiatives, as well as initiatives operating in complex environments where progress is not linear, predictable, or controllable. 9 propositions can help evaluators navigate the unique characteristics of complex systems, improve their evaluation practice, and better serve the needs of the social sector.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Evaluating the Impact of Social Media at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

RWJF developed a logic model, that outlines how we believe our social media activities will produce programmatic improvement and greater impact. The model was designed and developed with the help of Victoria Dougherty, of Victoria Dougherty Consulting, who based the model on information collected through document review and interviews with RWJF communications staff, research and evaluation program officers, and other program staff at RWJF who were early adopters of social media in the workplace.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Evaluation Use in Philanthropy: Using Logic Models

A Logic Model is a widely used tool that presents specific details of program inputs, activities and outcomes, and shows generally how they are related. Theory of Change is a model designed to link outcomes and activities to explain how and why desired change is expected to come about. Essentially, Logic Models clarify what you are doing and Theories of Change clarify why you are doing it. The terms are sometimes used inter-changeably but they are actually different tools. In Using Logic Models we explore what sets them apart.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation

This six-session discussion guide is designed help all kinds of people take part in meaningful dialogue to examine gaps among ethnic groups and create positive community change.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









Framework for Connecticut’s Statewide System of Early Childhood State and Local Partnerships

The Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, brings national expertise to consider a new “Framework.” In 2015, Early Childhood Funder Collaborative (Collaborative) provided funding for the purpose of developing recommendations for an infrastructure connecting state child-serving agencies, especially the Office of Early Childhood, with local communities and communities with each other. The resulting report, Framework for Connecticut’s Statewide System of Early Childhood State and Local Partnerships, concludes with a set of recommendations for Connecticut Leaders to consider in creating a statewide network of local or regional early care and education partnerships. The recommended Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









Gender Transformative Philanthropy A Key to Improving Program Outcome and Impact in At-Risk Communities

As foundations and other philanthropic institutions assess where they can maximize the social return on their charitable investments, many are looking at issues of gender norms and gender equity. To complicate matters further, in the US, where there’s often a widely held assumption that women and girls already enjoy full equality of rights, grantees may not see the need to have a gender analysis at all. Or if they do have one, it is marginalized. As one experienced program officer put it, “Grantees need to see gender and race together. Gender impacts every issue they work on. But grantees are Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Goal-Free Evaluation: An Orientation for Foundations’ Evaluations

Goal-free evaluation (GFE), in program evaluation, is a model in which the official or stated program goals and objectives are withheld or screened from the evaluator. Several obstacles must be overcome in persuading foundations and programs to consider GFE as a viable option, because both tend to view goal attainment as intuitively and inextricably linked to evaluation. This article presents the case for GFE as a perspective that belongs in a foundation’s toolbox. In particular, this article demonstrates GFE’s actual use, highlights aspects of its methodology, and details its potential benefits.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









Grantees Report Back: Helpful Reporting and Evaluation Processes

Provides a look at how more than 24,000 grantees that have received funding from 130 foundations experience reporting and evaluation processes, what makes them most helpful, and how foundations could improve them.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is a diverse community of more than 500 grantmakers reshaping the way philanthropy operates to invest in nonprofit success. Mission: Understanding that grantmakers are successful only to the extent that their grantees achieve meaningful results, GEO promotes strategies and practices that contribute to grantee success. Nonprofits are successful at achieving more meaningful change in our communities when they have the resources and skills to be effective. By not adequately responding to what nonprofits say they need most to maximize impact, funders can inadvertently do harm to the organizations and causes we intend to support. Changing grantmaker Read more




How Does Your Community Foundation’s Public Policy Work Stack Up?

Across the country, community foundations are recognizing the power of public
 policy work to advance their missions. Some do so by awarding grants for advocacy activities like public education and research. Others support nonprofits to lobby. And many others engage in advocacy themselves by taking positions on issues they care about. How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , The Philanthropic Sector, Strategy and Evaluation, Legal Issues and Laws









Influences of Venture Philanthropy on Nonprofits’ Funding: The Current State of Practices, Challenges, and Lessons

This article looks at the current state of venture philanthropy practices in the nonprofit sector, based on data from a survey of 124 nonprofits that engage in venture philanthropy. The survey probes to what degree nonprofit funders are implementing core activities of venture philanthropy – use of market-based funding instruments, providing strategic assistance, board participation, and use of social and financial performance criteria. Seven venture philanthropy organizations were also interviewed for this article. Various tactics they have used to mitigate internal and external tensions are examined, including complying with diverse interests to balance conflicting views if internal tension is moderate Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Interview with Carol Civita, Brazilian philanthropist

A disposition to give is not the same as a culture of philanthropy, argues Brazilian philanthropist Carol Civita. Brazil has always had the one but still lacks the other, she tells Caroline Hartnell. Part of the problem is that Brazilians see social problems as the government’s business, but in her view the country needs partnerships between the public sector and private philanthropy if social development is to catch up with economic development. But foundations are beginning to talk to each other, she says, a big step forward.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Investing in New Orleans

This report tells an important story of the positive role philanthropy can play in developing new communities and affordable housing. The effort of reshaping post-Katrina New Orleans was part of what Casey calls “responsible redevelopment,” the activities and support services required to make the rebuilding process successful for low-income families and their kids through economic development and community action. The paper distills insights from the Foundation’s experience that may be useful to philanthropies and their partners in other places.

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Catagories: Types of Grants, Strategy and Evaluation, Grantmaking and Changemaking









Leveraging Social Sector Leadership

Strong leadership is critical for effective social sector organizations, yet the sector chronically underinvests in its leaders. What do social sector leaders need to help them succeed and, just as importantly, stay in the sector? What can grantmakers do to support these leaders? This publication synthesizes findings from new research conducted by the authors and offers recommendations for grantmakers.

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Catagories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team, Developing Your Talent and Leadership









Logic Model Builder

The Logic Model Builder helps you clarify the connection between what your program does and what it is trying to achieve. You’ll be guided through an interactive process of thinking about your program’s goals, rationale, activities, and resources, and how those elements work together to produce your intended outcomes. To access this resource, it is required to set up a free account through Innovation Network by following the link below: http://www.innonet.org/?module=register  

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Making Change Happen

Effective philanthropy is about the thoughtful creation of something new in the world. It harnesses rigor and strategy – as well as commitment and strength of heart – to build a practical path from donors’ ambitions to their desired impact. It starts with a philanthropist’s values and motivations, and moves through the careful, well-researched selection of appropriate goals until it produces its core element – a giving strategy. This strategy is hugely important because it dictates how a philanthropic investment will actually make change happen.  

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2016

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2016 is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit. Foundation Center is pleased to again partner with Lucy to offer the Blueprint as a GrantCraft guide. The Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year. Some ways you might consider using this Blueprint include: With colleagues at your organization, this publication can open conversations about the context for your work and any thoughts on expanding your strategic framework. With grantees, this publication can foster conversations outside Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Philanthropy Lessons: The Many Forms of Evaluation

Evaluating impact can involve diverse data points, from tangible measures such as people served and dollars spent to less concrete aspects including lessons learned and challenges faced. Effective philanthropists embrace evaluation, understanding its dynamic and complex nature.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation









PowerCheck: Community Organizing Capacity Tool

Community organizing can be a complex process. To be successful, it’s important to prepare for success by understanding an organization’s readiness to engage and empower constituents. PowerCheck can help organizers – from beginners to the most sophisticated –better prepare for catalyzing community organizing efforts. In one hour or less, an organization can answer questions online about skills, expertise, gaps, and the resources available to successfully engage in community organizing work. PowerCheck generates immediate results, letting organizations and coalitions know where and how to focus resources and what types of partnerships to seek out to help build a plan to move Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Real Results: Why Strategic Philanthropy is Social Justice Philanthropy

The crises affecting our nation and the world have prompted philanthropists to become more organized, focused and, perhaps above all, “strategic” in their efforts. The movement toward “strategic philanthropy” has already contributed to greater philanthropic effectiveness. Yet, despite important contributions to education, health, the arts and the environment, it is clear that philanthropy’s ultimate impact is still limited. Great disparities along the lines of race, gender, class and other identity markers persist and, in some cases, are even exacerbated. This suggests that something is missing from our sector’s understanding of what makes for truly strategic and effective philanthropy: A clear understanding Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Should we be afraid?

At the end of last October, David Callahan, editor of the Inside Philanthropy blog, posted his five ‘scariest’ trends in philanthropy. Callahan’s ‘trends’ all relate to philanthropy in the US. Are these specifically US trends, we wondered, or are they happening more widely? In either event, how scary are they? We asked a number of observers from around the world – from India, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the UK – for their reactions. In spite of Callahan’s injunction to ‘be afraid’, few of them seem inclined to quake in their boots, even where they see similar tendencies Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









State of Evaluation: Evaluation Practice and Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector

This publication includes recent findings (from 2016) about how nonprofits engage in evaluation, and the capacities and characteristics of their organizations.  

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Strengthening the Human Services Sector

The Human Services sector finds itself today in an environment of profound change. The demography of our nation is being reconfigured. Technologies are being reinvented almost daily. The size and structure of governmental supports are in flux, as are governmental regulations. Our organizations face growing for-profit competition, expanded capital requirements, increasing donor expectations and, on the part of many would-be public supporters, an unsettling degree of “compassion fatigue.” Moreover, as one thought leader pointed out, all of these trends are here to stay. To examine these and other concerns, The Kresge Foundation held a symposium with leaders of national networks Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Strong Starts for Children

This five-session discussion guide helps people talk about and take on ideas for improving the lives of our communities’ youngest children. The guide walks people through discussions of how we are connected to the lives of children in our community; the “invisible” effects of racism and poverty; and, ultimately, plans for taking action in our communities.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









Taking on New Roles to Address 21st Century Problems

In employing co-creation, the partnership established new structures and adopted processes that enabled a diverse group of individuals and entities to voluntarily contribute their skills, expertise, and resources to create a state level early childhood systems approach in Connecticut. This co-creation process also resulted in important transformations within the entities involved. For CCP, it was an opportunity to explore and test a new role and working structure in direct response to the evolving needs and desires within Connecticut’s philanthropic community. Over the last 47 years, CCP has functioned as a network of various types of philanthropic organizations. CCP connects grantmakers Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation









The 2014 Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits

For more than eight years, Idealware has researched the software that can help nonprofits more easily meet their missions. We’ve interviewed countless nonprofit staff members on hundreds of different topics to gather the impartial information that organizations need to make better decisions, and spent thousands of hours analyzing it to create easy-to-understand overviews. The Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits is the culmination of our work, summarizing all that information into a handy, easy-to-use publication–and we’ve just updated it for 2014. Through straightforward overviews, it helps nonprofits pinpoint the types of software that might be useful for their needs and Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









The Exit Interview: Perceptions of Why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking Institutions

This decline in overall representation by Black philanthropic professionals in the sector is disturbing not just because it is happening — but because until now, there has been little data on why it is happening. Why are Black philanthropic professionals leaving the field, and where are they going? Is this trend at its beginning or nearing its end? Most importantly, is there anything that ABFE and its allies can do proactively to address this issue?

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective

At a time of growing concern over issues like inequality and access to education, increasing anxiety about climate change, and rising levels of distrust in institutions, foundation leaders are considering their role in addressing society’s challenges. When they look in the mirror and reflect on the current state of foundation philanthropy and the future ahead, are they pleased with what they see? Based on the perspectives of more than 200 foundation CEOs collected through in-depth interviews and responses to a survey from May to June of 2016, The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective captures foundation leaders’ views on Read more

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Catagories: History, Role in Society, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , The Philanthropic Sector, Strategy and Evaluation









Through the Looking Glass: Foundation Evaluation and Learning and the Quest for Strategic Learning

This article addresses different models that foundations use to establish staff evaluation and learning functions, what other organizational considerations they should take into account in order to prioritize strategic-learning work, and what tools and approaches can be used to initiate strategic learning. Interviews with officers from more than a dozen foundations revealed that strategic learning does not require wholesale structural and cultural change; an incremental approach, instead, can phase in greater complexity as foundations expand staff capacity. The interviews also uncovered several areas where further exploration of system building and practice at foundations has potential for advancing the field.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Too Good to be True? The Opportunity and Cost of the $1 Building

A study commissioned by The Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture Program finds that arts organizations have experienced a wide range of outcomes when acquiring low-cost or free buildings, also known as “$1 buildings.” In many cases, the actual costs of acquiring such buildings were much higher than organizations anticipated, according to the study, conducted by Boston-based Technical Development Corp.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









TRANSformational Impact: U.S. Foundation Funding for Trans Communities

In the last decade, U.S. foundation funding for domestic and global trans issues increased more than eight fold – growing at three times the rate of LGBTQ funding overall. However, even at its record high of $8.3 million in 2013, the philanthropic resources provided hardly seem commensurate with the severe challenges global trans communities continue to face. TRANSformational Impact analyzes the scope and character of foundation funding for trans issues.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









Trustee Evaluation Toolkit

Traditional approaches to foundation evaluation do not help trustees make informed strategic decisions. This toolkit offers new ways for trustees and foundations to better plan work, improve implementation and track progress toward goals.

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Understanding Software for Program Evaluation

In our increasingly data-driven world, nonprofits need more than ever to be able to measure and monitor the effectiveness of their programs. It’s difficult to improve program services or reach without first measuring current effectiveness. How many meals served at a soup kitchen, the number of students in a mentoring program who graduate high school, the percent of the target population without access to affordable housing—such numbers help organizations identify the areas where they can improve their programs. Like many big-data issues, the sector looks to technology to help with program evaluation. We have donor management databases, case management systems, Read more

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Catagories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









Webinar Recap – Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement: Strategies for Success

In the wake of Ferguson, Eric Garner, and the burgeoning #blacklivesmatter movement, the campaign to improve black male achievement has become more urgent than ever. During this webinar, we were joined by policy and communications experts who’ve been building and sustaining the movement for years. Through the lens of the Foundation Center’s landmark report, “Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement” we explored the capacity-building and systems-change strategies from the bird’s eye to the grassroots to learn what’s working.

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Catagories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources









What Are We Talking About When We Talk About Impact?

Everybody’s talking about it. Individual donors, foundations, impact investors, and nonprofits all say they want it. But what do they all mean? This analysis examines the different ways people are using the term and the implicit assumptions that can prevent progress. It ends with the 3 key questions that enable donors to cut through the noise and stay on the path to making the positive difference in the world they seek. Although helpful to all donors interested in practicing high impact philanthropy, the analysis offers specific examples related to addressing the needs of women and girls, thanks to our collaboration Read more

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation, Resources









What Does Community Philanthropy Look Like? Case Studies on Community Philanthropy — Volume 1

What makes the global spread of community philanthropy organizations so exciting is the variety of forms they take and how they adapt to different local contexts, challenges, resources and leaders. This diversity is one sign of community philanthropy’s flexibility, potential and rising popularity. Because it is a movement relatively young and quickly evolving, with a limited body of applied research, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation commissioned Barry Knight of CENTRIS to develop these case studies featuring profiles of eight community philanthropy initiatives from around the world.

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Catagories: History, Role in Society, Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , The Philanthropic Sector, Strategy and Evaluation