This curation of IMPACT Resources offers insight into funders’ perspectives on evaluation and impact. These pieces highlight philosophies and approaches to evaluation and work to advance meaningful measurement and communication strategies.
by Jane Wales; Luis A. Ubinas; Matt Bannick and Eric Hallstein; Judith Rodin and Nancy MacPherson; Paul Brest; James E. Canales and Kevin Rafter
This piece sheds light on the philanthropic sector’s efforts to improve measurement and evaluation (M&E), specifically within the context of foundations involved in social change work. The broad observations of the six contributing authors are that purpose; cost-benefit ratio; culture, context and capacity; unit of analysis; timing; feedback; and transparency matter to measurement and evaluation.
by the Alliance for Justice
Published by the Alliance for Justice, this highly useful, interactive guide has two major parts: the Advocacy Capacity Assessment Tool (13 pages) and the Advocacy Evaluation Tool (11 pages). The graphically pleasing guide is made for foundations and grantees to help improve evaluation methods given the difficulties of showing cause-and-effect between advocacy and policy change. A user-friendly introduction explains the purpose of the tools, suggested uses, a definition for advocacy, how the tools can guide grantmaking decisions, and how the tools can be customized.
by Hallie Preskill and Tanya Beer
The authors suggest that traditional evaluation approaches (formative and summative) fail to meet the complex needs of social sector innovators. Instead, grantmakers should approach evaluation differently, specifically involving the use of developmental evaluation (attributed to Michael Quinn Patton). Through a review of literature, interviews, and case studies, this piece assists with putting developmental evaluation into practice.
by Jane Reisman, Anne Gienapp, Sarah Stachowiak
An outstanding piece, this 51-page handbook presents a great discussion of outcomes as they relate to policy and advocacy. Intended for grantmakers but useful for nonprofits as well, it encourages users to think about measurement of advocacy and policy efforts toward social change. It offers outcomes lists, examples of data collection tools, and many sample instruments from which users may benefit.
Measuring the Value of Corporate Philanthropy: Social impact, business benefits, and investor returns
by Terence Lim, Ph.D.
In answer to the challenges that face corporate philanthropy in identifying a shared definition of impact measurement, the author sets out to assess current measurement practices, clarify what is needed in terms of impact evidence, and identify next steps. The article is organized into three conversations between key stakeholders engaged in corporate philanthropy. Although this piece is written specifically for those involved in corporate philanthropy, it provides useful insights for cultural agents about measurement and outcomes of key concern to corporations with which they may partner or which may invest in arts for change work.
by John Bare, Ph.D.
This piece suggests that the accountability movement is “setting a floor for minimum standards” and has consequences for effective social change work. Foundations, in particular, measure impact in terms of attentiveness to accountability standards, but this is a false measure of success. Instead, the organization’s focus should be on its transformative value to society.
by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
This 116-page handbook from the Kellogg Foundation provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool: “For those with little or no evaluation experience, and without the time or resources to learn more, this handbook can help project staff to plan and conduct an evaluation with the assistance of an external evaluator.” A blueprint for conducting project-level evaluations, this handbook is an excellent resource and was written primarily for project directors who have direct responsibility for ongoing evaluation.