publication Jan 2018
Addendum to On the Other Side of Complexity: The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program
This addendum makes clarifications to the teaching case of The McKnight Foundation's Collaborative Crop Research Program and its evaluation. It adds detail on the program's developmental evaluation.
publication Dec 2017
Evaluating Coalitions and Networks: Frameworks, Needs, and Opportunities
An impressive array of approaches, frameworks, and tools have been developed to evaluate coalitions and networks. This brief critically examines these resources, and points to challenges and opportunities that remain in efforts to assess their effectiveness and impact.
publication Nov 2017
Contribution Analysis in Policy Work: Assessing Advocacy’s Influence
How do we know what difference advocacy really makes? This brief explores the methodological application of contribution analysis, a non-experimental impact evaluation method, to advocacy and offers guidance for evaluators considering this approach.
publication Sep 2017
On the Other Side of Complexity: The McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program
Under the direction of a new president, The McKnight Foundation embarked on a process to imbue learning at every level of one of its signature international programs: the Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP). This teaching case explores the creation, implementation, and ongoing refinement of an evaluation and learning approach for CCRP from 2008 to 2017.
presentation Sep 2017
Better, Faster, Results – Supporting Learning for Multiple Audiences
How can foundations build an approach that is connected to robust data and information and supports the many learning needs of multiple actors? This presentation for the 2017 Evaluation Roundtable convening is on strategies for supporting learning in philanthropy. It presents questions, challenges, and implications for foundation practice.
insight Jul 2017
FaceTime, Open Workspace, and Electronic Calendars are a Few of My Least Favorite Things: Learning and the Way We Work
Supporting learning is about much more than facilitation and what happens at learning-focused events or meetings. We have to expand our thinking about what it takes to support effective learning in philanthropy. This article on Medium explores some unexpected sources, such as time management, physical and virtual space, and technology.
publication May 2017
Strategy Behind the Design of Advocacy Communications Support
Foundations that fund advocacy understand the critical role communications play in policy change efforts. How can foundations best support grantees’ advocacy communications? This brief offers lessons based on the experiences of advocacy grantmaking initiatives.
publication May 2017
Systems Change Evaluation Forum
Complex systems change efforts create practical challenges for evaluation. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation convened their full staff and a group of external evaluators who work in philanthropy for a Systems Change Evaluation Forum. This report provides observations, tools, approaches, and advice for addressing systems evaluation challenges.
publication Nov 2016
How Do You Measure Up? Finding Fit Between Foundations and Their Evaluation Functions
Foundations need to think carefully about how the structure, position, focus, resources, and practices of their evaluation functions can best fit their own needs and aspirations. This Foundation Review article, based on 2015 benchmarking research, poses questions foundations can ask to assess what they need from an evaluation function, and common areas of misalignment between needs and approaches.
publication Oct 2016
No More Half Measures
Funders can get better at designing grantmaking strategies that meet the dual demands of advocacy capacity needs and the realities of the policy and political landscape. This brief explores how funders can support policy campaigns while also building advocacy capacity, instead of just picking one approach or the other.
publication May 2016
Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices: 2015 Benchmarking Data
The result of a partnership between the Center for Effective Philanthropy and Center for Evaluation Innovation, this report offers a comprehensive look at foundation evaluation practices, based on 2015 survey data from 127 senior evaluation and program staff at foundations.
insight Apr 2016
Oh for the Love of Sticky Notes! The Changing Role of Evaluators Who Work with Foundations
Julia Coffman, founder of the Center for Evaluation Innovation, illustrates evaluators’ changing roles in the context of her own experiences as a long-time evaluator in philanthropy. This article published on Medium examines the history of evaluation in philanthropy, and the implications of role changes for evaluator skills, expertise, and boundaries.