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"GenY Unfocus Group - KP Digital Health 47613" by Ted Eytan licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
"GenY Unfocus Group - KP Digital Health 47613" by Ted Eytan licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
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This publication provides an overview of the impetus for the Equitable Evaluation Framework™ (EEF) and attempts to document early moments and first steps of engagement with U.S. philanthropic institutions — most often their research, evaluation and learning staff — whom we refer to as foundation partners throughout this publication. The themes shared in this publication surfaced through conversations with a group of foundation staff who have been part of the Equitable Evaluation Project, now referred to as the Equitable Evaluation Initiative (EEI), since 2017 as advisors, investment partners and/or practice partners.These are not case studies but insights and peeks behind the curtains of six foundation practice partners. It is our hope that, in reading their experiences, you will find something that resonates, be it a point of view, a mindset or a similar opportunity in your place of work.
When grantmakers focus on learning for improvement, we use evaluation and learning to generate information and insights that will help us better understand both how we're doing in our work and how to improve. A focus on taking action based on what we learn ensures that we are engaged in strategic or applied learning. Our learning should be tied directly to the strategies we are pursuing and the decisions we are making.Learning in Philanthropy: A Guidebook provides a solid basis for thinking and talking about the next steps in our organization's learning work. The guidebook is designed to serve as a resource to help grantmakers answer critical learning questions and embed learning more deeply into the day-to-day work and cultures of our organizations.
Effecting social change in a rapidly changing political environment and an increasingly interconnected world requires foundations to adopt a learning orientation. Without continuous learning, grantmakers—and thus boards and trustees—are unaware about what is working where, with whom, and why, as well as what changes or refinements are needed in order to achieve the grantmakers' desired results.This toolkit provides a fresh set of resources for grantmaker CEOs, evaluation staff, and senior leaders to use to engage their boards and trustees in conversations about the importance of strategic learning in their decision-making and deliberation processes.
This publication offers a brief overview of how grantmakers are looking at evaluation through an organizational learning and effectiveness lens. 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 to raise this issue more prominently among their memberships. Many of these grantmakers are testing new approaches to gathering and sharing information about their work and the work of their grantees. We share the learning and evaluation stories of 19 GEO members in the pages that follow.
Many of funders are already committed to evaluation as a tool to improve their programs and strategies, and are seeking ways to engage in this learning process in partnership with grantees. One critical aspect of understanding and growing the impact of grantmaking dollars is supporting the capacity of grantees to assess their progress and adopt a learning for improvement mindset. Many nonprofits already collect and analyze data on program performance and hope to develop more comprehensive learning agendas. However, the nonprofit sector continues to wrestle with finding the resources, time and space to take evaluation to its full potential. This Smarter Grantmaking Playbook piece offers grantmakers ideas for how to provide evaluation capacity support more effectively.
A majority of grantmakers are struggling to make evaluation and learning meaningful to anyone outside their organizations. Not only is evaluation conducted primarily for internal purposes, but it is usually done by the grantmaker entirely on its own -- with no outside learning partners except perhaps an external evaluator -- and provides little value and may even be burdensome to the grantee. It may be that some funders do not consider expanding the scope of learning efforts beyond their own walls. Or perhaps the gap is driven by funding constraints or funder -- grantee dynamics. In any case, grantees and other stakeholders are critical partners in the achievement of grantmakers' missions and are therefore critical learning partners as well.In this publication, GEO offers actionable ideas and practices to help grantmakers make learning with others a priority. The publication includes stories about foundations that are learning together with a variety of partners, plus a discussion of the key questions that can help shape successful shared learning. It is based on research and interviews conducted from late 2013 to 2015, including extensive outreach to grantmakers, evaluation practitioners and others. The focus of GEO's inquiry: documenting the challenges facing grantmakers as they set out to learn with others, lifting up what it takes to do this work successfully and identifying grantmakers that show a commitment to learning together.
Place-based initiatives involve multiple partners joining together to tackle pressing community-wide issues. In order to better understand and quantify the positive impact of these complex, long-term initiatives, this publication offers a framework of measures and potential indicators that can help grantmakers evaluate and ultimately improve their work.
This briefing shares five principles for engaging community stakeholders in evaluation planning, data collection and the interpretation and use of findings as part of place-based initiatives. These insights emerged from the shared experiences of grantmakers and evaluation practitioners during the first year of GEO's "Embrace Complexity" Community of Practice -- a group focused on the evaluation of place-based grantmaking.
GEO created this guide to help grantmakers get to the next level in their evaluation efforts. The target audience is champions and supporters of evaluation who want to embed these practices more deeply in the work of their organizations.The term "evaluation" can refer to a lot of different activities, including data collection, information gathering and research about grantmaker-supported activities. GEO's emphasis, however, is on "evaluation for learning."Evaluation is about more than ensuring that grantees are doing what they promise, or that a specific program area at a foundation is meeting its goals. Rather, it's about advancing knowledge and understanding among grantmakers, their grantees and their partners about what's working, what's not and how to improve their performance over time.Using evaluation in this way requires grantmakers to transform themselves into learning organizations. Beyond getting smarter about specific evaluation methods and approaches, this means adopting a continuous process, a culture and a commitment to support the capacity of people to see patterns and insights that can lead to ever-improving results.
Are nonprofits drowning in paperwork and distracted from purpose as a result of grantmakers' application and reporting requirements? Do the same practices that grantmakers use to increase effectiveness end up over-burdening both grantmakers and grantseekers—and diminishing their effectiveness? This research report commissioned by Project Streamline addresses these questions by examining current application and reporting practices and their impact on grantmakers and grantseekers alike. In short, we found that the current system creates significant burdens on the time, energy and ultimate effectiveness of nonprofit practitioners.
This is a report on phase 1 of the Change Agent Project, which offers best practices for grantmakers that focus on listening and engaging with individuals doing work on the ground. The Change Agent Project began by gathering input from grantmakers and nonprofits. Through nine focus groups across the country and 30 interviews with nonprofit leaders and grantmakers GEO asked two questions: Where can changed practice make the greatest difference? And who in philanthropy is leading change? From these conversations, GEO has identified the most promising opportunities for grantmakers to make changes that will contribute to nonprofit results. This report highlights those lessons.
This is a guide to the due diligence aspects of assessing an application for funding. It provides steps to thoroughly examining the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant organisation.