Building Evaluation Capacity
Evaluation is a process that applies systematic inquiry to program management, improvement, and decision making. Evaluation is also used to assess the status or progress of a strategy (i.e., a group of meaningfully connected programs, not just the simple aggregation of multiple programs) or an initiative (a grouping of strategies). Evaluation Capacity is the ability of staff and their organizations to do evaluation. Because evaluation is systematic, it involves proficiency in a particular set of skills. These are skills which can be developed and enhanced through a variety of capacity building strategies:
- Asking questions of substance
- Determining what data are required to answer specific questions
- Collecting data using appropriate strategies
- Analyzing collected data and summarizing findings
- Using and sharing the findings
Featured Video -- Building Evaluation Capacity in Organizations
Evaluation is an active, dynamic process. It is the ability to do evaluation—to assess what is taking place with a program, a strategy, or an initiative—that allows an organization to use data to inform its decision making. For evaluation to be relevant, it must respond to important questions, be accurate and timely, and provide a springboard for action.
Internal evaluation capacity allows organizations to conduct better evaluations, to work and/or partner with external evaluation professionals and/or to commission stronger, more useful evaluations.
Evaluation capacity used well leads to programs, strategies, and initiatives that allow organizations to better deliver on their missions and to better meet the needs of those they serve.
Featured projects include:
- Rochester Effectiveness Partnership/REP (1996-2003)
Through the Rochester Effectiveness Partnership (REP) the Bruner Foundation demonstrated that it is possible to effectively train individuals within an organization to understand and do program evaluation.
- Five Guidebooks for Grantmakers newly released in 2011, these concise guides provide resources for developing and expanding the use of evaluation and evaluative thinking in Grantmaking organizations.
- Basic Concepts for Grantmakers
- Using Logic Models
- Evaluation Data Collection
- Evaluative Thinking for Grantmakers
- Commissioning Evaluation