Evaluation

Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact (TRASI)

This online database from the Foundation Center contains proven approaches to measuring and analyzing the impact of social investments. TRASI's resources range from off-the-shelf tools and concrete methodologies to generalized best practices; are complemented by multimedia features and social networking tools; and place a premium on evidence and metrics in tracking progress.

Learning Together: Collaborative Inquiry among Grantmakers and Grantees

Many grantmakers champion the idea of using evaluation to improve grantee effectiveness or advance a field of practice. It's a worthy endeavor, but how can you make it happen in the real world? This guide explores an increasingly popular method called "collaborative inquiry." Grantmakers define the practice, consider potential benefits and grapple with common challenges. A mini-case study shows how collaborative inquiry was used to support growth in a new field.
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Making Measures Work For You: Outcomes and Evaluation

An outcomes-based approach to evaluation works, proponents say, because it uses straightforward metrics to assess actual impact. How else to know if the work you're supporting is leading to the desired changes? Other grantmakers counter that outcomes measurement should be approached with care. Hasty assumptions or over-confidence in the idea that program impacts can be translated into hard data can skew not only the evaluation but the work itself. This guide looks at tensions that drive the debate about outcomes measurement, as well as common questions about its potential risks and rewards.
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Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation

"What are we doing, and why do we think it's going to make a difference? Are we being effective?" Grantmakers ask evaluation questions like these of their grantees and themselves. This brief guide explains why grantmakers use theories of change to guide their questioning, unearth assumptions that underlie their work, establish common language, and develop strong action plans. Contributors to the guide also describe how a theory of change sets the stage for evaluation by clarifying goals, strategies, and milestones.
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