APC TIG Week: Anne Gienapp and Sarah Stachowiak on Three Rad Resources that illustrate the growth of the field

We are Anne Gienapp and Sarah Stachowiak from ORS Impact, a consulting firm that helps organizations use data and evaluation to strengthen their impact, especially in hard-to-measure systems change efforts.

Ten years ago, when the field of advocacy and policy change was first coalescing, a number of excellent field building publications helped make the case for the value of theory of change, identification of interim outcomes, and the application of new tools and methods to fit the dynamic and adaptive space of advocacy efforts.

As the field has grown, so has the number of resources and frameworks that evaluators can use to deepen their evaluative practice in this space.  If you are like us, you probably have a “good intention” reading pile somewhere, where you have taken note of some of these as they were initially disseminated.  To round out the APC TIG week, we’ve listed three of our favorite newer resources that expand upon earlier work that helped define the field of advocacy evaluation.

Rad Resources

  • Beyond The Win: Pathways for Policy Implementation While early advocacy evaluation primarily focused on unique campaign wins, there has been increasing acknowledgement that understanding more than legislative wins would strengthen advocacy and policy change theories of change and evaluation designs.  The Atlas Project supported this publication to help identify ways in which to understand key aspects of policy implementation
  • Assessing and Evaluating Change in Advocacy Fields Early on, there was agreement that advocacy capacity could be a legitimate and important advocacy outcome.  Jewlya Lynn of Spark Institute   expands upon that notion with an evaluation framework for funders who recognize that a long-term strategy for meaningful and sustained policy change can include building the collective capacity and alignment of a field of individuals and organizations toward a shared broad vision.
  • Measuring Political Will: Lessons from Modifying the Policymaker Ratings Method While Julia Coffman and Ehren Reed’s original Unique Methods in Advocacy Evaluation first shared the idea of Policymaker Rating, there hasn’t been more public writing about it since.  This piece shares lessons learned about putting this method into practice in various circumstances and shares some things to do—and things to avoid—if you want to implement it.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list;  for more rad resources, be sure to check out the Center for Evaluation Innovation, Point K resource page and the Atlas Project website.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating APC TIG Week with our colleagues in the Advocacy and Policy Change Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our AP TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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