APC Week: David Devlin-Foltz on Advocacy and Policy Change Week

Welcome to Advocacy and Policy Change TIG week on AEA365!  I’m David Devlin-Foltz and I co-chair our TIG when I’m not directing the Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program at The Aspen Institute or, well, doing other things.  My team and I work principally with foundations and nonprofits to assess efforts to advocate for policy change or behavior change.  We know that some AEA365 readers may share the view I heard at my first AEA meeting: “Advocacy?  You can’t evaluate that!”  As you’ll see in this week’s posts, APC TIG members disagree – mostly.  That is, you’ll hear about principles, tools and approaches that help us reduce our clients’ uncertainty about what works and what doesn’t.  And you’ll hear cautionary tales about the residue of uncertainty that will always remain.

Hot Tips: What to watch for this week

Tuesday:  Carlisle Levine will acknowledge some core advocacy evaluation challenges and provides some solutions.

Wednesday: Edmina Bradshaw offers a familiar evaluators’ lament and pragmatic responses.

Thursday: Rhonda Schlangen reminds us that advocacy and service delivery are related and mutually supportive; evaluation can be, too.

Friday: Oxfam GB’s Claire Hutchings and Kimberley Bowman brief us on how Process Tracing helps Oxfam answer some tough questions; and they invite aea365 readers to apply their collective brainpower in response.

Saturday: Colleen Duggan and Kenneth Bush from IDRC discuss the special challenges of evaluating change processes in settings of violent conflict.

Hey – we never said it was easy to assess the impact of efforts to encourage complex policy change and social change, and these last two posts underscore that.  But it’s possible; advocates, their funders and other stakeholders naturally want to know what works.  We’re on it.

Rad Resources:

  • This recent blogpost from Steven Mayer at JustPhilanthropy defines advocacy and encourages foundations to pay more attention to funding and assessing advocacy efforts.
  • Innovation Network shares its own tools and a host of resources at Point K, its web-based hub
  • Check out past AEA coffee break webinars on advocacy topics and listen in to Sue Hoechstetter’s webinar this Thursday, 2:00 – 2:20 PM EST, on her new advocacy capacity measurement tool: www.BolderAdvocacy.org

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Advocacy and Policy Change (APC) TIG Week with our colleagues in the APC Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our APC 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.