The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot
Meet the Vantage Team: Stacie Hanson
We’re excited to invite you to a celebration for our founder and CEO Dr. Elena Harman’s new book: The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot: A new approach every staff member can understand.
In addition to receiving a 10% discount on the purchase of the book, attendees will enjoy light appetizers, music, and mingling with Colorado’s incredible nonprofit and foundation community.
What Counts as Valid?
Our Meet the Vantage Team series is a way for you to get to know each member of the Vantage team, and why they love what they do. Today we feature evaluator Stacie Hanson, who shares the importance of finding and seeing connections.
Sharing Our Stories Together to Address Inequities
A continuation of our series about the Equitable Evaluation Design Sessions, this post focuses on why Vantage Evaluation decided to focus on what is considered valid findings, what we did (or tried to do), what we learned, and where we are going next. Our hope in sharing our experiences is that others might find inspiration to engage in similar work, and that those organizations will take what we did and improve upon it.
Letting Go of Being the Expert
As part of our participation in the Equitable Evaluation Design Sessions, Vantage Evaluation took on two design challenges. In this blog post, we offer a summary of one of them, where we created an Equity Learning Club. Our hope in sharing our experiences is that others might find inspiration to engage in similar work, and those organizations will take what we did and improve upon it.
Survey Fatigue is Real
What does it take to incorporate equity into our work? What would that look like? Is that even something we want to do? These are the questions we set out to tackle this past summer as part of the first Equitable Evaluation Design Lab. Evaluator Laura Sundstrom reflects on what she’s learned from the experience.
Shifting from Data-driven to Learning-driven
Nonprofit leaders often use surveys to take the pulse of their communities and get a sense of the impact of their organization’s work. Surveys are also beloved by politicians, marketing folks, and researchers. Unfortunately, they have become overused because they’re easy to build and send with cheap online survey software options. This has led to survey fatigue in our communities that has real consequences for nonprofit leaders.
Three Evaluation Steps You Can’t Outsource
We have gotten to the point where evaluation is such a buzzword in nonprofit and foundation work that we assume all nonprofits should be evaluating everything, and for the same reasons. However, that is not true. Evaluation should serve an intentional purpose. It should teach you something new, and something that you care about.
Learn how to create an evaluation purpose statement that outlines why you want to do evaluation in the first place, and what the results will be used for.
NOW HIRING: Impact Manager
An effective evaluation takes internal resources. Before you decide to ask an evaluator to figure out what to measure, it's important to sit down and think about the 30,000-foot view of why you are dedicating resources to evaluation in the first place. Learn about the five core elements of an effective evaluation, and what to consider before handing the project off to your evaluation team or external consultant.
How Evaluators Can Be Like Rock Legends
NOW HIRING: The Open Media Foundation is hiring for an Impact Manager to take a big picture view of both the organization and its clients, helping articulate, theories of change and measure social change and impact. This search is managed by Vantage Evaluation through our work to build evaluation capacity in our communities, through staffing solutions.
The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot Everyone Can Understand
The American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) annual conference theme, Speaking Truth to Power, left us with a lot to process as a team and individually.
Our evaluator Aisha Rios, PhD explains how a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame combined with the conference sessions challenged her to reflect on the role power plays in defining truth and knowledge, and offers steps for encouraging honest communication when power dynamics are at play.
Our Commitment to Evolving Evaluation
Listen to the Nonprofit Coach podcast interview with Elena about her upcoming book, “Learning on Purpose: How Each Nonprofit Position Can Use Evaluation To Get the Answers They Need.”
In this interview, Elena talks about funder and donor outcome requests, staff engagement, and how to position your organization as a leader in the impact evaluation space.
Speaking Truth To Power
Vantage Evaluation turned five this August. In those five years, we’ve changed in structure and in scope but never deviated from our core focus of helping purpose-driven organizations throughout and beyond Colorado experience the joy of evaluation. Our new blog, Vantage Point, is part of the next evolution of our journey helping purpose-driven organizations infuse basic evaluation practices into their day-to-day work. Before we dive into what’s next, here’s a bit of background on how we got here.
Two Ways to Engage Key Stakeholders & Make Meaning of Your Data
Our team is joining evaluation colleagues from across the globe in Cleveland this month for the 2018 American Evaluation Association Conference: Speaking Truth to Power. We’re excited to be presenting on a wide range of topics, including: 1) being a woman-owned evaluation firm; 2) best practices for conducting virtual focus groups; 3) using an anthropological approach for addressing power and truth in evaluation practices, and 4) best practices for debriefing with clients.
Nonprofit leaders who invite community and staff to the table when digesting evaluation findings make the findings more meaningful and useful. These stakeholders add critical insights when interpreting data on their own programs, and are best suited to decide next steps as a result. To ensure your data has meaning and engagement, you can invite others to participate in the analysis.