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The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) surveyed private and community foundation leaders regarding what they know about what is and isn't working in their foundations' efforts to achieve their goals. Drawing from 119 survey responses and in-depth interviews with 41 foundation CEOs, the report finds that while the majority of foundation CEOs believe they understand well what is working in their programmatic efforts, more than 40 percent believe their foundation is not investing enough time and money in developing that understanding.
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 Practices is the most comprehensive data collection effort to date on evaluation practices at foundations. The report shares data points and infographics on crucial topics related to evaluation at foundations, such as evaluation staffing and structures, investment in evaluation work, and the usefulness of evaluation information.Findings in the report are based on survey responses from individuals who were either the most senior evaluation or program staff at foundations in the U.S. and Canada giving at least $10 million annually, or members of the Evaluation Roundtable, a network of foundation leaders in evaluation convened by CEI.