Why Companies Invest in Social Enterprises

When President Trump recently announced that the US was pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, over 100 major US businesses announced their intention to continue their efforts to address climate change. This is a prime example of how companies are responding to stakeholder pressure by developing new approaches and taking a stronger role in addressing complex social issues. Continue reading

Illustrate Your Impact Goals with Logic Model Heat Mapping

The work you do in the social sector is likely unique in its mission and programs. As unique as it is, social sector organizations like yours share the common goal to “move the needle.” They may work towards improving conditions for local youth or inspiring local creativity by supporting the community arts scene. No matter your mission, it is important to ensure your activities are clearly aligned with your ultimate social impact goals. To that end, we have produced three videos that Continue reading

5 Things Foundations Say About Their Capacity

Nearly 60 foundations – of all shapes and sizes – recently took the Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool (FCCAT), a self-assessment measure for foundations, to better understand their strengths and challenges. Based on the recent summary report, here are five noteworthy things they had to say: Continue reading

Be SMART: Designing Effective Media Campaigns (Stage 1)

Why are funding organizations looking more and more toward media as a valuable method to affect social change?

Because it has been shown to work.

There are four key stages in the use of media. These stages include design, development, distribution and reflection. In this piece, we discuss the importance of design and the impact evaluation can have in this stage in creating a successful campaign, and subsequently detail the process. Continue reading

Building Evaluation Capacity Across International Offices

For NGOs with offices in a wide variety of geographic locations, establishing a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system that works for both the headquarters office and field offices can be a real challenge. If those offices operate in different countries, that challenge becomes even harder.

As a former program manager for Latin American health programs, I appreciate that needs and outcomes differ by region, by country, and even sometimes by community. I remember long conversations with my colleagues about how a solution for one geographical area would never get off the ground in another! So, how can we create a measurement framework that serves both field office and headquarters’ needs? Continue reading

What Surprises Me about Human Rights Grantmaking

When your job centers on helping funders assess needs, devise strategies, and manage and evaluate their grantmaking, you wish that every field would have a resource like Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking. Since IHRFG and Foundation Center launched this series four years ago—and added an interactive website three years ago—I have made regular use of these tools to understand levels of foundation engagement within and at the intersection of issues ranging from women’s rights in the Global South to environmental justice in the United States. This research has also been invaluable in helping the foundations I work with to see just how many peers and practitioners have aligned interests and could become partners in realizing their goals.

That is why I was surprised when I sat down to read the 2017 Edition of the Advancing Human Rights report. I realized that in using these resources to answer my very specific, client-focused questions, I had been missing some findings and trends that are beginning to reshape my thinking about foundation support for human rights. Continue reading

4 Tips for Culturally Responsive Programming

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve always had an inherent appreciation for diversity – yet my training and work in the evaluation space has fostered even greater realization that diversity is a critical component to both program design and evaluation. Continue reading

Build Trust With A Purpose Statement

As we enter a new era in US politics, there is increased pressure on companies to build trust with customers, and both deliver and communicate their broader value to society and their employees.

As stated in the Edelman TRUST BAROMETER 2016, “A yawning trust gap is emerging between elite and mass populations. The most profound difference between the elite and the broader populations is found in their attitudes toward business. This skepticism is clearly manifested in the perception of specific industries, in particular the financial services sector where there is a gap of more than 20 points between the elite’s trust in the sector and the general population’s.”
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How to Strengthen Your Family Foundation’s Impact

As with all foundations, family foundations work to have a meaningful and measurable impact on social problems. But they also have a second, unique purpose: to serve as a unifying vehicle for multiple generations, providing opportunities for family members to share philanthropic interests. Establishing this cohesion can be accomplished by Continue reading

4 Key Stages for Measuring Your Media Outcomes

What can media accomplish? What can it affect? These are questions funders often ask. Restating those questions from an evaluation perspective translates to: how can one measure the impact of media? To understand how to measure media, we must first understand the strategy behind media.

Media:

  • Draws attention to issues.
  • Improves understanding of issues and possible solutions.
  • Inspires people to care.
  • Motivates people to do something.
  • Connects people with solutions.

I previously spoke to these, diagramming the flow of media effect, where people move through various different states from awareness to action. Looking at the model, it is easyMedia Affecting Change Flow Chart to think that one piece of content can affect change.
However, it is rare that just one exposure to one piece of content affects change; rather it is the sum of multiple experiences – a subset of which is content. Savvy media professionals take into account the environmental factors in the development and distribution of their content, building on what is available, constructing multiple pieces of content for distribution, and developing a campaign for that distribution to affect their target audiences.

During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Continue reading