Need practical how-to info that aims to help you build your evaluation capacity? This collection includes suggested readings from our friends at BetterEvaluation, the Center for Evaluation Innovation, the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations as well as hand-picked content by Candid. Thousands of actual evaluations are  available for download.

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Raising the Bar - Integrating Cultural Competence and Equity: Equitable Evaluation

July 1, 2014

Whether implicit or explicit, social justice and human rights are part of the mission of many philanthropies. Evaluation produced, sponsored, or consumed by these philanthropies that doesn't pay attention to the imperatives of cultural competency may be inconsistent with their missions.The American Evaluation Association's Statement on Cultural Competence provides those who produce, sponsor, and use evaluation an opportunity to examine and align their practices and policies within a context of racial and cultural equity and inclusion. The use of such a lens is paramount when evaluating a program whose goals touch on issues of equity or inclusion.This article seeks to open a discussion of how philanthropy can use an equitable-evaluation approach to apply the principles of the AEA statement, present the concept of equitable evaluation alongside an approach for building equitable-evaluation capacity, and apply equitableevaluation capacity building to philanthropy.

Guidelines and Best Practices

Eyes Wide Open: Learning as Strategy Under Conditions of Complexity and Uncertainty

January 1, 2013

Foundations have important but unrealized potential to contribute value to strategy by building, supporting, and engaging in learning. While learning is important for strategic success in most circumstances, it becomes essential when foundations engage in many large and extraordinarily difficult and complex concerns: improving food security in Africa; addressing global warming, poverty, or issues of equity in difficult urban settings.This article identifies three common "traps" that hinder foundation capacity to learn and adapt: 1) linearity and certainty bias; 2) the autopilot effect; and 3) indicator blindness. The authors propose a framework to avoid these traps. Through learning from action, a truly powerful strategy – one with the potential to foster change and better outcomes – can emerge and take hold.

Guidelines and Best Practices; Must-Reads; Tools and Frameworks

Evaluation for Models and Adaptive Initiatives

March 1, 2012

In this article, we promote the use of evaluation for unlocking the power of both models and adaptive initiatives. Our aim is to help grantmakers understand the critical distinctions between models and adaptive initiatives, whether these represent individual grants or broader initiatives, and to identify how evaluation can be used to learn about and assess impacts at different stages of development. We do not set out to teach evaluation skills or techniques, but to empower grantmakers to strengthen the models and adaptive initiatives in their portfolios through informed, strategic choices about the kinds of evaluation that should be funded. 

Evaluation in Foundations; Must-Reads