“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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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 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.

Categories: Strategy and Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, Resources

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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

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation

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Alliance Breakfast Club – How much influence does philanthropy have?

Foundation professionals, academics, and NGOs discuss the nature of philanthropic influence and what limits, if any, should be imposed. Discussions are presented in three videos.

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

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Alliance Breakfast Club- Markets for good: removing the barriers

In this video, the participants are discussing why so few market-based solutions to poverty are getting to scale, what can be done so they can deliver meaningful benefits to the poor, and more.

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

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Beldon Fund Final Impact Assessment

This final impact assessment provides an inventory of Beldon’s legacy, five years after its grantmaking ended. It tells the story of a foundation that brought innovative ideas to its grantees, built capacity and infrastructure, and planted seeds that continue to bear fruit. As a spend-out foundation, it struggled with challenges that other spend outs share, and the lessons learned from this assessment are intended to help others embarking on similar paths.

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

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Building Evaluation Capacity

Evaluation is a process that applies systematic inquiry to program management, improvement, and decision making. Evaluation is also used to assess the status or progress of a strategy (i.e., a group of meaningfully connected programs, not just the simple aggregation of multiple programs) or an initiative (a grouping of strategies). Evaluation Capacity is the ability of staff and their organizations to do evaluation. Because evaluation is systematic, it involves proficiency in a particular set of skills.

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

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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.

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

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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

Categories: Strategy and Evaluation

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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

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

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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

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

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Data Playbook

A Measured Approach. For purpose-driven organizations, data means more than just numbers and graphs — it is about understanding what more you can do to change lives and strengthen communities. The Data Playbook is designed to help you make sense of the data you already have and to build upon it. In it, you will learn about what data you need; how best to collect it; how to analyze it to meet your needs; how to present it; and how to use it to inform your work and tell your story. Whether you are looking for guidance on how to Read more

Categories: Strategic Philanthropy, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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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.

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

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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

Categories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Strategy and Evaluation

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Greater Influence, More Impact

Influence can be one of the most important tools for impact. Here are five steps for organizations — foundations or otherwise — to build their own strategy.

Categories: Strategic Philanthropy, Strategy and Evaluation, Resources

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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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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.

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

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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.

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

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LearnPhilanthropy’s Real Simple Taxonomy

By: Dara Major, Philanthropy Consultant Good content needs a good search – but sometimes a simple keyword search is not enough to produce the result a user seeks. That’s where a taxonomy comes in: a taxonomy is a classification or categorization system that groups similar items into broad topics or buckets. A taxonomy can help to organize knowledge “at a glance,” describe concepts not found directly in the content, and includes terms, categories and keywords. LearnPhilanthropy has developed a Real Simple Taxonomy, created with extensive testing and feedback at each stage (and ongoing) by dozens of grantmakers and others across Read more

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

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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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Offshore philanthropy

Organized philanthropy exists because a few individuals are able to accumulate a vast surplus of resources. Given how much good is done with philanthropic donations, it seems ungrateful to look too closely at the source of that money. Yet recent financial data leaks, including the Panama Papers and the earlier HSBC Swiss Files, act like glasses for the myopic—they bring into focus one of the wealth management practices that enables private individuals to hold on to resources. Moreover, a number of named individuals are well-known philanthropic donors. With these revelations, the sector should look hard at the uncomfortable ways in Read more

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

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PowerCheck: Community Organizing Capacity Tool

Supporting community organizing is key to developing movements where change is needed at local, national, and all levels. PowerCheck can help you understand the skills and readiness of your grantee, identify gaps and opportunities in your funding portfolio, focus resources where most needed, and assess grantee programs in their organizations.

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

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Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising

The George H. Heyman, Jr. Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU’s School of Professional Studies offers courses and intensive study options for fundraisers and grantmakers, professional development, and conferences and events designed to provide information on the latest industry trends and developments.

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

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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

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

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Taking on New Roles to Address 21st Century Problems

This is the second article in a series exploring the public-private partnership undertaken by the Connecticut Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and the State of Connecticut. This article, Taking on New Roles to Address 21st Century Problems, explored the role of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CCP), an association of funders within this endeavor. For CCP, this was an opportunity to explore and test a new working structure in response to the desire within Connecticut’s philanthropic community to achieve meaningful and large-scale systems change.

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

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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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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

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

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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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