The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot Everyone Can Understand

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Nonprofit Coach Interview

Evaluation is an area of complexity and almost bewilderment for many charities who want to show outcomes…but there’s a big chasm between the skill to know how to do proper evaluation and the resources and time to do it.

Listen in to the Nonprofit Coach podcast as Ted Hart, CEO of CAF America interviews our CEO Elena Harman, PhD about her upcoming book, “Learning on Purpose: How Each Nonprofit Position Can Use Evaluation To Get the Answers They Need.”

Evaluation requires the engagement of staff across the organization, from the executive director, to the fundraising and development team, the communications team, and the board of directors. We need to change the way we’re talking about evaluation so that it actually serves nonprofit organizations like it should.

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. Here’s a taste of the conversation:

Evaluation is really limited when it comes from external demand. So when you have a funder or a donor or even a board member saying “Hey we need you to demonstrate your outcomes” it becomes an activity that is jumping through hoops. Where evaluation really becomes an instrumental tool for nonprofit effectiveness, is when it’s driven by on-the-ground staff and program teams implementing the programs. Instead of saying “we need to measure something to report to our funders” think about “what is it we don’t quite understand about our programs” and use evaluation to fill those knowledge gaps to do a better job.

Listen to the podcast.

Evaluation is really limited when it comes from external demand. It becomes a tool for nonprofit effectiveness when it’s driven by on-the-ground staff.
— Elena Harman, PhD


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