Tag: Evaluation


Highlights from GO Open Data Conference 2017

17

May 2017

Highlights from GO Open Data Conference 2017

Over 150 people gathered in London, Ontario for the Go Open Data 2017 conference May 5 & 6. This was a cross-section of folks from government, the private sector, academia, and the nonprofit sector who all share a common interest in open data. Together, we shared a full day of learning and discussion about the potential and challenges that open data presents. Here are a few of...

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Can a pizza party be evaluation, too? Updating mismatched expectations in nonprofit measurement

07

Feb 2017

Can a pizza party be evaluation, too? Updating mismatched expectations in nonprofit measurement

Last year, we put out a resource to help clarify the different ways in which the term evaluation gets used (or misused) in Ontario’s nonprofit sector. Since then, we have heard some great ways nonprofits are promoting critical reflection and learning that didn’t quite fit into our original analysis. So, here’s a resource refresh to reflect what we’ve learned and heard from the sector since....

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Don’t let evaluation become the elephant in the room

06

Feb 2017

Don’t let evaluation become the elephant in the room

Evaluation… Impact Assessment… Reporting… Simple in concept, but capable of causing severe challenges for your organization if not properly managed. So, why are many nonprofits missing this important piece? In the private sector, where my experience lies, measurement and evaluation is relatively straightforward: Return on investment. Profitability. Efficiency and effectiveness. In the nonprofit world as I’m learning, however, measurement and evaluation is much more complicated....

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The perils of recipe thinking in the not-for-profit sector

30

Jan 2017

The perils of recipe thinking in the not-for-profit sector

If you stuck me in a kitchen without a recipe book, I wouldn’t know where to start. When you are inexperienced or lack confidence, a recipe is an amazing thing. It breaks up a complex task into simple steps.  It minimizes the risk of making a mistake. It allows you to achieve things you couldn’t otherwise do. Skilled chefs use recipes, of course, but they...

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Evaluation: Expanding design learning

30

Jan 2017

Evaluation: Expanding design learning

Late last fall, ONN’s evaluation project took me to the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia, to present alongside Andrew Taylor, ONN’s Resident Evaluation Expert. For me, it was an important professional development opportunity (one of the seven elements of decent work) and, thinking back, it was a bit of a surreal experience. Never did I think I would be in Atlanta at...

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Who sets the evaluation agenda? Five important discussion questions to make evaluation useful

28

Oct 2016

Who sets the evaluation agenda? Five important discussion questions to make evaluation useful

Too often, an evaluation enters the mindset of a nonprofit as a fully formed process imposed on their organization by someone else. In other words, who sets the agenda? In many cases, nonprofits are told what to evaluate and how to evaluate it, and then are left to their own devices to get it done. As one funder has noted, evaluation should be about accountability...

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Should nonprofits be reporting evaluation findings to funders?

07

Oct 2016

Should nonprofits be reporting evaluation findings to funders?

We have pointed out in previous blogs that evaluation is less likely to lead to learning or action when it is mandated by an external actor, such as a funder. In this blog, we are going to explore in more depth the relationship between accountability, evaluation, and learning. What is the relationship between evaluation and accountability? What should it be? Can we imagine a sector...

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Our 2020 Vision for Nonprofit Evaluation: Let’s Be Bold!

09

Aug 2016

Our 2020 Vision for Nonprofit Evaluation: Let’s Be Bold!

One of the goals of our work to develop a Sector Driven Evaluation Strategy was to think beyond the limits of the system that we have now.  When it comes to the fundamental questions about why evaluation matters and what makes it useful, there really isn’t much disagreement. People find evaluation useful when it helps to answer questions that matter, involves a spirit of collaboration...

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Evaluation comic 3.0! Oranges to apples: Measuring what counts

25

Jul 2016

Evaluation comic 3.0! Oranges to apples: Measuring what counts

With two comics done, we naturally felt that our third comic should focus on fruit. Indeed, as we note in the first frame, fruit is part of a healthy community. Yet, as with all our comics, this one has many layers. It should therefore not surprise you that this comic isn’t really about fruit, but about measuring what matters. In this comic, we start with...

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What We Learned From Talking Evaluation to Funders

21

Jul 2016

What We Learned From Talking Evaluation to Funders

In recent months, we’ve been talking with funders (including private foundations, public foundations and funders, government, and corporate funders) about evaluation. We’ve learned that, by and large, they are very interested in evaluation and see it as an important tool for learning and action. They understand the challenges that nonprofits face around evaluation and they acknowledge that some of these challenges arise out of their...

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