Strategies

Research

We develop and commission research on emerging evaluation and learning questions and challenges. We feature cutting-edge work on trends, concepts, methods, and tools. We publish all of it for free.

Our job is to think about where evaluation practice in philanthropy is headed and to help it move in new and more productive directions. This requires that we substantiate our field building work with research that explores our assumptions, examines trends, and uncovers pioneering solutions.

 

We have our own evolving research and learning agenda on evaluation in philanthropy and use both formal and applied research to work through it.

 

We also support the research and writing of other evaluation and learning leaders in philanthropy who often do not have the time or resources to share what they are finding or doing. We offer opportunities and a platform for exploring front-edge questions and communicating new ideas.

Our Work in Action

Benchmarking Evaluation and Learning in Philanthropy

The evaluation function in foundations regularly shifts as foundations work on improving how data and evaluative thinking inform grantmaking. We regularly conduct quantitative and qualitative benchmarking research with foundations across the U.S. and in Canada on their current thinking and practices. We track trends and examine their implications for the philanthropic sector.

Advocacy Evaluation Research

Since our founding, we have commissioned many advocacy evaluators and funders to write about their research and what they have learned in their applied work. We offer a large suite of widely-used resources on advocacy evaluation frameworks, methods, tools, and case studies.

Network Evaluation Research

Increasing foundation support for networks as a mechanism for social change has led to questions about how to evaluate networks: What are key success factors in building a network? How can network builders and funders tell how well a network is doing? With our Network Impact collaborators, we conducted research on these questions and produced an accessible framework for evaluating networks and a casebook on what it looks like in practice.