“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.

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

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10 – Minute Impact Assessment

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.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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35 Keys to Effective Evaluation

This tool will help you make sure grant money is spent as effectively as possible and how to evaluate the consequences of grant supported activities  

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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6 Steps to Evaluating your Program

This tool will help you to create an accurate process for documenting and evaluating the entire effort.

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

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A Guide to Evaluation Primers

Produced by the Association for the Study and Development of Community (ASDC) for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this document offers an orientation to handbooks and basic primers on evaluation. These resources are designed to meet the needs of the non-expert.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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A Road Made by Walking: Participatory Evaluation and Social Change

This article describes how participatory evaluation was used in a Ford Foundation–funded project to promote mixed-income housing in Atlanta. The project resulted in an increase in mixed income housing, but also in social outcomes such as increased knowledge about housing issues. Validity and reliability of the findings are demonstrated through feedback from the community members, rather than through statistical methods.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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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.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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An Ecological Understanding of Evaluation Use

This report seeks to be helpful not only to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other foundations, but more broadly to the fields of evaluation, aging, physical activity and public health in understanding what evaluation use looks like in context and how it can be facilitated. This case study illustrates the parameters of use (e.g., for whom? when? how?), as well as what constituted the use of the evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program Active for Life®: Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Beldon Fund Evaluating Impact

The Beldon Fund relied heavily on independent external evaluations to make early and mid-course corrections to our program strategies and to develop benchmarks to measure progress. EXTERNAL EVALUATIONS Each assessment includes a summary of key findings as well as the full report. Evaluation of Beldon’s Program Strategies PDF A qualitative evaluation, based on confidential interviews, of the impact of our program strategies. Beldon Grantee Perception Report PDF Anonymous survey of Beldon grantees. Beldon Grant Applicant Perception Report PDF Anonymous survey of Beldon grant applicants. EVALUATION BENCHMARKS Evaluating Policy Advocacy Grant-Making Strategies

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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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

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Beyond Compliance: Measuring to Learn, Improve, and Create Positive Change

At their best, systems for monitoring and measuring nonprofit performance illuminate what an organization is accomplishing, where its resources are going, and how that organization might address weaknesses and build on successes. At their worst, such systems become an expensive compliance exercise, diverting resources from program delivery without returning a greater understanding of how to achieve an organization’s goals. With that context in mind, the Center and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative developed this report to tackle questions central to effective philanthropy: How do non-profits and donors measure and manage results? What tools exist, whom do they serve, which questions Read more

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Resources

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Building and Restoring Civic Capacity: The Obama Administration’s Federal-Local Partnership with Detroit

This report focuses on what the partnership contributed to Detroit’s revitalization efforts and how it helped build local capacity. Initiatives and projects detailed in the report in which The Kresge Foundation was involved include the Blight Task Force, the Detroit Home Mortgage program, creation of the city’s global engagement strategy and attracting support for sustainable recreation at Historic Fort Wayne.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Building the Capacity of Networks to Achieve Systems Change

Networks have historically played an essential role in promoting progress in areas such as social justice, political reform, environmental protection, and public health. Foundations are increasingly recognizing the power of networks and looking for strategies to help networks achieve their potential. The most common strategies are: a) convene a new network around a mission in line with the foundation’s interests, or b) make grants to an existing network whose interests align with the foundation’s. Each strategy has practical limitations. This paper analyzes an alternative strategy developed by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation (MRBF). In addition to providing networks with grants, Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Changing the Odds for Kids (Part One): What capacity do the supports and opportunities in the six Good Neighborhoods provide for young people and what characteristics of a system are in place?

This first assessment of the systems of supports and opportunities (SOSO) informs the Foundation and its partners about availability and quality of youth development opportunities and basic services supports in the six Good Neighborhoods.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Consumer Voices for Coverage: Advocacy Evaluation Toolkit

The Advocacy Evaluation Toolkit contains the instruments Mathematica used to collect data for evaluating the Consumer Voices for Coverage program. It explains how the instruments were developed, what each was designed to measure, and how Mathematica used them for the evaluation. Although the instruments in the toolkit were designed to collect data for the grant program and reflect its structure and goals, they can be adapted for other situations and uses, ranging from an organization’s informal self-assessment to shape its activities to a comprehensive evaluation. The toolkit suggests some of these adaptations. For people who might not be familiar with evaluation methods, Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Critical Issues in General Operating Support Volume 2: Assessing the Impact

Many grantmakers agree that general operating support can boost effectiveness and impact for nonprofits. At the same time, however, the field continues to struggle to answer a question that has become a significant barrier to the wider use of general operating support: How are we going to measure its impact? GEO’s review of grantmaker practices suggests some answers.

Categories: Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Defining, Building, and Measuring Capacity: Findings From an Advocacy Evaluation

This article reports on results from Mathematica Policy Research’s evaluation of Consumer Voices for Coverage, a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the role of consumer health advocacy coalitions in 12 states. The foundation based the program on a study that identified six core advocacy capacities, and designed it to strengthen these capacities. The evaluation found that the level of funding, substantial and targeted technical assistance, and the three-year time frame of the program contributed to the observed increases in five capacities. Fundraising remained the lowest-rated capacity for most of the coalitions and may require different Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Demonstrating the Value of Social Service Programs: A Simplified Approach to Calculating Return on Investment

In 2008, as charitable giving dropped by $6.4 billion, 54 percent of human service programs saw an increase in the need for their services. Additionally, 74 percent of programs specifically serving children and youth reported being underfunded or severely underfunded. As government and foundation grantmakers transition from charitable giving to social investment, a Gates Foundation report on eight methodologies to assist measuring social value creation finds the methodologies are many years away from being suitable for both nonprofits and grantmakers. To better recognize and communicate the work of frontline practitioners, there is a need to change the orientation of our Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluating the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund’s Social Determinants of Health Portfolio

Research over the past two decades repeatedly demonstrates the relationship between poor health outcomes and socioeconomic factors such as poor housing, poverty, racism, and structural inequity. In 2005, the Northwest Health Foundation, supported by the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund, began an initiative to address these social determinants of health (SDOH). A variety of projects – short- and long-term, large and small – were supported over the five-year period for a total of $12.4 million. The mean project-implementation grant was $175,350 and 2½ years in length; capacity-building grants averaged $50,000 for 1½ years. In all, 323 social-determinant accomplishments were identified. The Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation at Sunset: Considerations When Evaluating a Program as It Concludes

This article uses the evaluation of the Orfalea Foundation’s initiative to provide a case example of a rigorous and useful sunset evaluation, and discusses other possible extensions of these kinds of methods.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation Basics for Grantmakers

Five Guidebooks for Grantmakers released in 2011, these concise guides provide resources for developing and expanding the use of evaluation and evaluative thinking in Grantmaking organizations. Basic Concepts for Grantmakers Using Logic Models Evaluation Data Collection Evaluative Thinking for Grantmakers Commissioning Evaluation

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation Capacity Building: Examples and Lessons from the Field

Innovation Network developed these three introductory evaluation documents as part of Building Nonprofit Capacity to Evaluate, Learn, and Grow Impact, a workshop we presented in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ Scaling What Works initiative.  

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation Capacity Building: Funder Initiatives to Strengthen Grantee Evaluation Capacity and Practice

The three case studies presented in this paper share Innovation Network’s experiences with funder initiatives to strengthen grantee evaluation capacity and practice. Each case study includes a description of the overall grantmaking initiative, followed by a discussion of the Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) services requested by grantees and/or provided by Innovation Network. The paper concludes with a reflection on lessons learned and recommendations for funders considering ECB for their grantees.  

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation for Models and Adaptive Initiatives

Although there has been a growing emphasis on use of experimental designs in evaluation, there is also increasing agreement that evaluation designs should be situation specific. The nature of the program is one of the key factors to consider in evaluation design. Two types of programs – models, which provide replicable or semi-standardized solutions, adaptive initiatives, which are flexible programming strategies used to address problems that require unique, context-based solutions – require different evaluation designs. Evaluation of models requires understanding the stage of development of the model program, with summative evaluation done only when the model is fully developed. Adaptive Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation in Philanthropy: Perspectives from the Field

This publication offers a brief overview of how grantmakers are looking at evaluation as a means of improvement. It is based on a review of the current literature on evaluation and learning, outreach to grantmakers that have made these activities a priority, and the work of GEO and the Council on Foundations to raise this issue more prominently among their members.

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Evaluation Use in Philanthropy: Using Logic Models

This guide will show you the difference between a Logic Model and the Theory of Change and when it is best to use these tools.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Foundation Evaluation Startup: A Pause for Reflection

This article reports on the accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned in creating a new Department of Research and Evaluation at the California HealthCare Foundation. Different tools were developed to address each of three key areas: performance assessment, organizational learning, and program evaluation. These new processes and tools have been well received by both staff and the board, and have become increasingly important as resources become more scarce, making understanding and maximizing the impact of investments even more critical. Fostering a culture of evaluative inquiry in a fast-paced, payout-oriented environment is a significant challenge – program staff often feels pressured to Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Foundations as Network Strategists, Weavers, and Managers: Learning From One Foundation’s Journey and Results

This article shares insights from a five-year evaluation of the Oral Health 2020 network, an effort by the DentaQuest Foundation to align and strengthen efforts in service of a national movement to improve oral health. The evaluation helped to place the foundation’s journey in the context of a broader field seeking new approaches to achieve deep and sustainable social change.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Four Essentials for Evaluation

GEO created this guide to help grantmakers get to the next level in their evaluation efforts. Four Essentials for Evaluation builds on our previous publication, Evaluation in Philanthropy, to offer grantmakers a practical perspective on how to build or strengthen the capacity of their organizations to tap the transformative power of evaluation for learning. This guide provides grantmakers with ideas, insights and examples from their peers to help them develop and strengthen the following four essential elements that are part of any successful evaluation approach: lead, plan, organize and share.

Categories: Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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From Awareness to Action: A Case Study of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Philanthropic Strategy

This case study (2010) examines the Foundation’s philanthropic strategy to enhancing its effectiveness, identifies lessons that may help other foundations, and draws implications for the respective roles of private and public initiative in addressing major social issues.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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General Operating Support: Action Guide

As grantmakers strive to help nonprofits succeed in today’s difficult environment, one practice stands out as part of the solution: general operating support. In this publication, based in part on a GEO listserv discussion, GEO explores the nature of general operating support, how to make the case for it within your organization, and how to make it work.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation, General Grants 

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Getting to Results: A Tool and Lessons from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s K-12 Education Portfolio

In 2002, the Annie E. Casey Foundation adopted a results-based accountability (RBA) framework to track and report on the results of their philanthropic investments. The RBA tool was piloted in a few program areas, including its K-12 education portfolio. Grantees were highly engaged in an iterative process to determine appropriate measures, refine the theory of change, and how to track progress. Overall, the RBA tool enabled staff to get a sense of how grantees were doing and therefore how the foundation was doing in a way that hadn’t been possible before. The K-12 program got a much clearer sense of Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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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.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Going Deeper: Can Investigative Reporters Add Value to Assessment and Evaluation?

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supplemented its standard evaluation approach by engaging professional journalists to elaborate on evaluation findings. The resulting reports are more direct, even critical, than any prior Knight Foundation attempt to evaluate and assess. It produced deeper looks into the intent and outcome of major initiatives, analyzing and addressing flaws in the theories of change underlying initiatives. The goal of reaching external audiences was not achieved.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Grantmaking for Community Impact Project: Summary of Findings in Seven Sites

This infographic is a review of the seven sites researched in NCRP’s Grantmaking for Community Impact Project. It highlights the billions in public benefits secured by 110 organizations in 13 states.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Impact investing in a democracy: A response to ‘Markets for Good: removing the barriers’

In the recent Alliance special feature, ‘Markets for good: removing the barriers’, we had not just one article but several from around the globe about social impact investing. It’s a joy to think that the field is now at a point that such an esteemed and diverse group of contributors can come together and debate the issues raised by Monitor Inclusive Markets’ report Beyond the Pioneer: Getting inclusive industries to scale. For me one big issue the report raises is the role of government vis-à-vis impact investing in addressing social problems.

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

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KIDS COUNT Data Center

KIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state project of the Casey Foundation to track the status of children in the United States. At the national level, the principal activity of the initiative is the publication of the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, which uses the best available data to measure the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children state by state. The Foundation also funds a national network of state-level KIDS COUNT projects that provide a more detailed, county-by-county picture of the condition of children. By providing foundations, policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks Read more

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Organization Learning and Evaluation , Issue Specific Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Results by Funding Policy and Community Engagement

Leveraging Limited Dollars provides solid evidence of the impacts of foundation-funded policy advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement based on findings from the seven research sites. The report explains why these strategies are successful and how they create stronger communities.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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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.

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

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Making Measures Work For You: Outcomes and Evaluation

This guide looks at tensions that drive the debate about outcomes measurement, as well as common questions about its potential risks and rewards.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation

This brief guide explains why grantmakers use theories of change to guide their questioning, unearth assumptions that underlie their work, establish common language, and develop strong action plans. Contributors to the guide also describe how a theory of change sets the stage for evaluation by clarifying goals, strategies, and milestones.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Measuring the Impacts of Advocacy and Community Organizing: Application of a Methodology and Initial Findings

The increasing emphasis by funders on strategic grantmaking and measurable outcomes may be a disincentive to support policy and advocacy work, because of the perception that outcomes can be difficult to assess. A tool for measuring impact can reduce the barriers to funding advocacy and policy work. The tool draws upon the literature on evaluating advocacy and organizing, social capital building efforts, and return on investment approaches to evaluation. The tool was applied in two sites, where funders found it useful to understand advocacy impacts and learn how advocacy can enhance their grantmaking goals.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Organizational Learning at The Skillman Foundation

This report evaluates how The Skillman Foundation’s work practices and culture, and its relationship with its core intermediaries, supports the Foundation’s aspiration to be a high-performance learning organization.

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Pathfinder Funder Edition: A Practical Guide to Advocacy Evaluation

Pathfinder is a practical guide to the advocacy evaluation process. This edition guides funders through the advocacy evaluation process from start to finish. Editions for advocates and evaluators are also available. Drawn from Innovation Network’s research and consulting experience, Pathfinder encourages the adoption of a “learning-focused evaluation” approach, which prioritizes using knowledge for improvement.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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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.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Practicing Transparency for Discovery and Learning

Transparency is as much about discovery as disclosure. That’s because the discovery process is how we determine: what we know what we don’t know where we stand what boundaries, if any, exist for a specific topic. Discovery can be a humbling and inspiring experience. Learning is the payoff for investing.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Readiness for Evaluation and Learning: Assessing Grantmaker and Grantee Capacity

This tool will provide you with questions of readiness. What is the existing evaluation practice of my organization or program? What is the existing evaluation capacity of my organization or program?

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Small Investments, Big Changes: A 10 Year Review of the Casey Fellows Mini-Grants Program

In 1998, The Annie E. Casey Foundation launched a small grants program for alumni of the Children and Family Fellowship program. These mini-grants were designed to support fellowship alumni in their ongoing leadership efforts. This review highlights some of the mini-grant funded efforts and details some of the returns on the Foundation’s investments.

Categories: Issue Specific Grantmaking, Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Organizational Development - Strengthening/Building Your Team

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Solutions for Impact Investors: From Strategy to Implementation

In this publication, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors highlight some of the areas in which behavioral economics and innovative organizational and legal structures can be applied to the discipline of impact investing. By describing best practices in transparency, disclosure and rigorous decision making, they also hope to bridge the divide between traditional and social purpose investing.  

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Blind Men and the Elephant: Learning a Little at a Time About Civic Engagement

Key points: This article, written from the perspective of the evaluator, describes what happened in one community in which four noncollaborating funders were supporting community development programs.  The Treeline Collaborative evolved from grassroots origins to become a leading organization in the community, serving as a one-stop shop for many programs and providing a structure for civic engagement of residents.  A collaborative evaluation would have enabled a deeper understanding of the Treeline Collaborative, the outcomes it attained and missed, and the multiple roles it plays in the community, perhaps leading to more effective program and funding decisions.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Center for High Impact Philanthropy Blog: How Can I Help?

In the wake of natural disasters, health crises, and violence donors often ask, “How Can I Help?” To shed some light on this question, we developed a blog series on a variety of different disaster relief and recovery topics.  

Categories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Organization Learning and Evaluation , Program Level Learning and Evaluation, Resources









The Grantmaker’s Role in Theory of Change

Innovation Network developed these three introductory evaluation documents as part of Building Nonprofit Capacity to Evaluate, Learn, and Grow Impact, a workshop we presented in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ Scaling What Works initiative.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Quest for Quality: Lessons From a Certification Pilot Project for College Access Providers

Certification programs can provide a way for nonprofits to ensure adherence to generally accepted standards. The KH2GO Certification Pilot Project, supported by the Lumina Foundations, developed a set of standards for high-quality college access services, including standards for programming, operations, and organizational effectiveness. The project was implemented in two states with an evaluation designed to assess the quality of the assessment tools and the ease and rigor of implementation. The more clarity that applicants had about the goals of the process, potential benefits, and details about procedures, the more benefits they perceived. Many applicants felt that the self-assessment improved their Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Real-Time Evaluation Memo: A Tool for Enabling Evaluative Thinking and Learning in Foundations and Nonprofits

Real-time evaluation memos provide data-based feedback in a timely manner to inform decision making. Memos must be concise and include both data and expert synthesis and interpretation. The foundation must have a learning culture if the memos are to most useful; there must be time to reflect on the content and implications. The balance between data quality and timeliness must be managed and will be dependent on the topic. While useful for program management, these memos do not provide the kind of summative information that board members and other stakeholders may require.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Approach to Evaluation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has placed a high priority on program evaluation since its inception as a national philanthropy in 1972. It has developed a four-tiered system of evaluation that ranges from the evaluation of individual grants and clusters of grants to the qualitative assessments found in The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology series.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Social and Economic Impacts of Healthy Food Financing

Launched in July 2011 by a broad coalition of public and private partners led by the California Endowment, the $273 million California FreshWorks program provides loans and grants to grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other food retailers that offer nutritious, affordable food options in communities where such options are scarce. In order to better understand the California FreshWorks program’s food access, social, and economic impact to date, the California Endowment commissioned the first-ever third-party evaluation of the program. The evaluation also sought to document key challenges and lessons from the development and implementation of FreshWorks.  

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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The Trenton Afterschool Partnership: Expanding Learning Time Citywide Through Public/Private Collaboration

High quality after-school programs have been demonstrated to have significant impact on student performance. Preceding the Trenton Afterschool Partnership (TAP) was a hodgepodge of programs that cost various contributors about $9 million. These programs, of unequal quality, served about 1,500 students in 15 out of Trenton’s 21 public schools. TAP (which includes the Princeton Area Community Foundation) was able to successfully implement programs in all of the Trenton schools. Budget cuts have forced the reduction of the programs, but about half of the schools have been able to maintain programs. Foundations are encouraged to support advocacy capacity and to provide Read more

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Tips for Evaluating Advocacy A Checklist for Grantmaking Organizations

This checklist will keep you on track for effective evaluation of advocacy.

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

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Understanding Software for Program Evaluation

This handy reference guide provides overviews of the types of software that, when brought together, can enable your organization to accurately and confidently collect, measure, and monitor the outcomes and effectiveness of its programs.  

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Using Community-Based Participatory Evaluation (CBPE) Methods as a Tool to Sustain a Community Health Coalition

Participatory evaluation has set the standard for cooperation between program evaluators and stakeholders. Coalition evaluation, however, calls for more extensive collaboration with the community at large. Integrating principles of community based participatory research and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Strategic Prevention Framework, which guides much coalition work, into coalition evaluation has proved useful to foster community affiliations and support reciprocal relationship building. The resulting evaluation method, named community based participatory evaluation (CBPE), takes time, money, and skilled personnel but can lead to more accurate results and coalition sustainability. The CBPE method has proved essential in sustaining two Read more

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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When and How to use External Evaluators

In March 2002 we presented this material at the national conference of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), Capacity Building for Impact: The Future of Effectiveness for Nonprofits and Foundations. Our session, titled “When and How to Use External Evaluators,” was designed for program officers fairly new to evaluation who might be called upon to advise grantees about contracting an external evaluator or to directly commission evaluations on behalf of their foundations. We hoped to impart some of the skills and lessons we have learned through our own experiences with incorporating evaluation into a foundation setting.

Categories: Program Level Learning and Evaluation

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Why funding research is not enough

Over ten years, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has run more than 350 studies in 51 countries to find what works in alleviating poverty. They have had some success in influencing policies of governments, NGOs, foundations and others. Here’s what they have found.

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

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Your Toolkit for Successful Evaluations

This resource has been designed and assembled by the Macro International evaluation team with the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as a starter kit to promote the integration of effective evaluation into grantmaker education programs.

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