Skip to content

Evaluation 2022- American Evaluation Association (AEA) Annual Conference

Concepts, Design Strategies, and Methods for Evaluating Advocacy and Policy Change Initiatives

Tuesday, November 8 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Several factors have fueled the need for skilled evaluators that can design appropriate advocacy and policy change (APC) evaluations to meet diverse stakeholder needs: increased foundation interest in supporting APC initiatives to achieve transformational, systems-level change; evaluation of democracy-building initiatives worldwide; and diffusion of advocacy capacity beyond the traditional advocacy community (such as service providers). Evaluators have met these needs with great success, building a new field of evaluation practice, adapting and creating evaluation concepts and methods, and shaping advocate, funder and evaluator thinking on advocacy and policy change in all its diverse manifestations. The field of APC evaluation has matured and now has a rich repository of guides, instruments, and a book to support evaluation practice. But the pandemic and focus on systemic racism have changed the landscape for advocates and their advocacy, such as shifting advocacy tactics to online platforms. Evaluators must similarly adapt their approaches to this new reality, anticipating and navigating change and building advocate evaluation capacity.

The aim of this workshop is to expand evaluator capacity to design tailored advocacy and policy change evaluations under diverse and complex scenarios. The content of this workshop is guided by evaluation research findings on evaluator practice, which are described in the comprehensive book, Advocacy and Policy Change Evaluation: Theory and Practice (Gardner and Brindis). Participants will also explore options for addressing the challenges associated with evaluation practice, such as the complexity and the moving target of the context in which advocacy activities occur, and the challenge of attribution and identification of causal factors.

Presenters: Annette Gardner and Jared Raynor– Director, Evaluation and Learning

Reshaping Leadership Development Evaluation to Meet 21st Century Leadership Needs

Wednesday, November 9 | 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Leadership development programs in the social sector are designed to empower individuals to lead organizations, fields, and systems.  By so doing, these programs can play an influential role in determining who holds future positions of power as well as which issues and values they prioritize.  Over the last few years, some have evolved their definitions of leadership to better address equity, social justice, and distributed forms of leadership.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Change Leadership Initiative includes four such programs.  Over the last five years these programs have adapted through conceptualizations of leadership; through the COVID-19 pandemic; and to respond to radical opportunities in the wake of the tragedies of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. This session will explore how the complex evaluation was reshaped to meet more than an emergent program, but an emergent world that required new visions of leadership.

Session Chair: Jared Raynor– Director, Evaluation and Learning, Lisa Frantzen– Senior Consultant, Evaluation and Learning

Movements, Coalitions, and Durable Policies – How Evaluators Can Better Understand the Current Advocacy Environment

Wednesday, November 9 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Poster Presentation: Deepti Sood– Senior Consultant, Evaluation and Learning

From Here to There: Can Evaluation Localization Lead to Decolonized Funding and Greater Social Impact?

Saturday, November 12 | 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

With only 3-5% of international aid funding going directly to partners based in the countries where the work is done, more needs to be done to decolonize funding and ensure local actors have more decision-making authority. Research shows a lack of trust of local organizations contributes to this colonization. One solution may be building internal evaluation capacity and transferring evaluation power to local organizations who best know the realities and context of the work. In this roundtable, we’ll bring our experiences with NGOs and funders that localized evaluation and engage with the audience to share and learn from each other around questions such as: 1. What is successful when building capacity and transferring local evaluation leadership? 2. What are the challenges that need to be addressed? 3. What should not be done? 4. Has donor confidence increased in local NGOs once evaluation capacity is built?  If so, what has changed?

Session Chair & Facilitator: Lisa Frantzen– Senior Consultant, Evaluation and Learning

What Does AEA’s International Working Group Do? What Could It Do?

AEA’s International Working Group (IWG) advises AEA’s Executive Director on international issues and informs AEA policies that affect international members and conference participants. Comprised of evaluators that work and live in various parts of the globe, the group believes strongly in the rich and valuable exchange between countries and cultures and what this exchange can provide for AEA members. This Think Tank has two objectives. First, it will provide an opportunity to learn more about the IWG and the global evaluation community with which it interacts. Secondly, the session will engage participants to brainstorm ideas on how the IWG can best support AEA member interests and needs for a global evaluation community. This timely input will inform the IWG as it revisits its mandate to support AEA engagement in global evaluation and the equitable inclusion of evaluators and evaluation ideas from around the world.

Session Chair & Facilitator: Lisa Frantzen– Senior Consultant, Evaluation and Learning

Cards Against Evaluators: A Learning Game for Nerdy People

Presented by: Owen Knight– Analyst, Evaluation and Learning, Jacqueline Loweree– Consultant, Evaluation and Learning, Seth Tucker– Analyst, Evaluation and Learning

Teaching Evaluation and Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation. Our version of Cards Against Evaluators will be based on the AEA’s Guiding Principles: 1) systemic inquiry, 2) competence, 3) integrity, 4) respect for people, and 5) common good and equity. Through our game we intend to promote the AEA’s Guiding Principles, offer alternate learning methodologies, and most importantly – laugh a little.

Stay Updated

Join our email list to stay updated with TCC Group’s practices, tools, and resources.