What's the Difference? How Foundation Trustees View Evaluation

by Eva Nico; Mark R. Kramer; Samantha Nobles-Block

May 1, 2009

Trustee Evaluation Toolkit


Trustees care deeply about impact. Understanding results is part of their fiduciary duty. As foundations strive to improve performance, advance accountability and share knowledge, their desire for evaluation -- reliable data on organizational effectiveness -- grows. Based on discussions with trustees, we've heard that current evaluation approaches don't always generate useful information. In too many cases, foundation evaluation practices don't align with trustee needs. Trustees across the United States believe there are ways to improve how we determine the effectiveness of social investments. FSG Social Impact Advisors, with funding from the James Irvine Foundation, interviewed dozens of foundation trustees, CEOs and evaluation experts to uncover critical issues and exciting ideas related to evaluation. This "toolkit" shares highlights from these interviews, and explores innovative new approaches.

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