Foundations band together to develop shared approach to advocacy evaluation

A common complaint among nonprofit organizations is that foundations pursuing similar objectives require dramatically different metrics and reporting requirements. To address this issue, healthcare foundations in Kansas and Missouri created the Advocacy Evaluation Learning Initiative in 2010, which brought together six funders, 13 high performing advocacy organizations, four local evaluators and two national technical assistance firms. Together, they are developing a shared approach to evaluating the work of advocacy organizations. Eventually, the funders hope that this standardization will lead to improved coordination and collaborative funding in advocacy, transparency for advocacy organizations, and better showcase the impact of their collective advocacy efforts.

The results so far: participating foundations and their advocacy grantees adopted a framework that connects advocacy strategies to measurement approaches, which the advocacy organizations use as well. Participating foundations are also noting that advocacy organizations now include a theory of change or logic model and demonstrate alignment between strategy, advocacy objectives, and evaluation methodology in their proposals to better explain how their efforts will lead to their ultimate outcomes.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Opening Up.