Collaborative Evaluation Approaches

Collaborative Evaluation Approaches

Grantmakers are increasingly interested in measuring the impact of their investments through evaluation.

guide: collaborative evaluation approaches

Grantees that undertake a formal evaluation process generate learnings and insights that inform the grantmaker’s investment of its funds. Evaluation is the key that unlocks learning about a project’s impact on the community. It tells stakeholders whether the grantmaker is moving the bar on its mission. Critical governance questions are answered about how wisely and effectively the grantmaker is investing its funds. And for those grantmakers tackling big societal issues, evaluation unbundles their complexity and provides insights into the interventions that will have the greatest impact.

Collaborative Evaluation Approaches: A How-To Guide for Grantmakers: The purpose of our guide is to provide grantmakers who support the nonprofit sector with practical guidance about how to take a more collaborative approach to evaluation. When we use the term grantmaker, we are referring to non-governmental funders that provide financial support to nonprofit groups including United Ways, corporate, public, and private foundations.

Read the guide 

Content example:

Is the stage set for collaborative evaluation in your organization?

Evaluation can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Taking the time to set the stage for success can increase the yield from your evaluation investment. The evaluation process is most useful when it is applied to a specific, clear, and important purpose, when people inside your own organization are prepared to learn, and when you have cultivated strong, trusting relationships with the groups whose insight and feedback you need.

Statement 1 2 3 4 5
We have a clear, focused reason for doing
evaluation more collaboratively
People within our organization
are excited about this work.
People within our organization have
the skills necessary to undertake evaluation
Our organization is ready to learn
from this evaluation.
We have strong relationships with our
grantees and other partners based on
a mutual understanding of each other’s
needs and goals and are comfortable
having open and honest conversations.

Content example:

Collaborative Evaluation: What’s your next step?

If you have an interest in collaborating with your grantees on evaluation, there are many places to start. The right first step for you depends on your evaluation purpose, your own readiness, and your context. Use the checklist below to identify the next step that’s right for you.

Section Might be a good place to start if: Step taken?
Developing a high-level
evaluation framework
You’ve already got some pockets of experience
with collaborative evaluation, and you’re ready to
adopt the approach in a more comprehensive,
strategic way.
[ ]
You feel you need to do some work on the
purpose of your evaluation wok and the questions
it will address before turning to discussions of
measurement.
[ ]
Developing grant
applications and grant
reports
You’re about to start a new granting cycle. [ ]
You or your grant recipients are frustrated with
evaluation paperwork.
[ ]
You’re not learning much from grant reports. [ ]
Developing indicators
and data collection
methods
You and your grantees share some clear, focused
evaluation questions
[ ]
You’re finding it challenging to synthesize
evaluation findings from multiple grants.
[ ]
Supporting grantees to
engage in evaluation
You’re looking for an easy way to begin exploring
collaborative approaches.
[ ]
You feel you may need to build trust with grantees
before changing your evaluation approach.
[ ]
You often work with small or inexperienced
grantees.
[ ]
Analyzing data and
sharing findings
You’re near the end of a granting cycle and can’t
change the data gathering processes already in
place.
[ ]
You’ve already spent a lot of time and energy on
evaluation and you’re not sure how to use the
findings
[ ]
You’d like to bring together stories and numbers
to tell a more compelling story.
[ ]