Our CEO began advising and providing evaluation services to foundations and non-profits over a decade ago. Long before the widespread adoption of now established philanthropic best practices, he contributed a chapter entitled “How to Get Evaluation Done” in the pioneering Evaluating For Success guidebook published by the Philanthropy Roundtable.

From a major program evaluation of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) for the Koch Foundation (see the online summaries of findings for the NY and DC NFTE programs) to a comprehensive evaluation for the Elks National Foundation's Drug Awareness Program, Grant Evaluation has assisted foundations and non-profits with widely varying needs. A recent, groundbreaking Evaluation Handbook for think tanks from the Measuring Freedom Roundtable includes one of our reports for the Bill of Rights Institute as an example of an evaluation tool measuring program impact.

You need more than a report that gathers dust on the shelf: foundations and non-profits need useful information and processes that assist in both real-time and long term, strategic decision-making.

We believe that evaluation begins and ends with a clear and agreed upon understanding of its purpose. We believe that in a changing world of fads and buzz words, common sense and hard won experience stand the test of time. We believe that in order to get at the truth hidden within the mess of real world situations, multiple methods and approaches are necessary. We believe that while the quantitative methods of advanced social science ought to be used whenever appropriate, we must never lose sight of the limits of the social sciences. We believe that formulas and equations are useful tools for human beings, but both quantitative and qualitative evaluation must always be ordered such that they remain in service of human beings and their goals. We believe that program evaluation ought to not only provide you with the results you need, but help establish ingrained, integrated and reasonable evaluation processes that you can use for years to come.

The best of altruistic intentions can become reckless and self-absorbed without consciously established measures of success. And without consistent internal scrutiny, how do you know you are even implementing what you think will achieve that success? Establishing the right mandates and other formal requirements can be vital, and meeting those requirements is often a necessity. On the other extreme, however, evaluation can become a cumbersome end in itself for both foundations and non-profits.

The best evaluation practices in the foundation and non-profit world involve a collaborative, mutually agreed upon plan and process of continual implementation and revision. You may not need an overall program or project specific evaluation, but a simple consultation about how best to structure your own internal evaluation practices. Contact us today and we’ll be glad to listen to your needs.