Hello. I’m Ehren Reed and I am a Director with Innovation Network. For several years, much of my work has involved the evaluation of advocacy and policy change efforts. During that time, I have witnessed this topic grow from a conversation between a small cadre of evaluators and funders to a full-fledged field with an AEA Topical Interest Group (TIG) of over 700 members. (And, as of last month it seems, its own page on Wikipedia!) Over the past week, a series of evaluators have offered valuable lessons on effective advocacy evaluation. I wanted to close the week by adding some of my favorite resources.
Anabel Jackson kicked us off with some of her perspectives on the unique challenges and opportunities that exist within the field of advocacy evaluation.
- One of my favorite resources regarding advocacy evaluation, and one of the first, is Blueprint Research and Design’s two-part series on The Challenge of Assessing Advocacy (Part I and Part II).
On Tuesday, Anna Williams talked about the challenge of defining and measuring “wins.” When conducting advocacy and policy evaluations, it is critical that we remember not only to consider the achievement of such “wins” but also the myriad of outcomes that will demonstrate progress toward those victories.
- Harvard Family Research Project’s A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning offers helpful guidance on outcomes to consider when conducting an advocacy evaluation.
- In their recent article The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, Steven Teles and Mark Schmitt remind us that we need to also consider the “strategic capacity” of advocacy organizations.
Gabrielle Watson discussed actively integrating evaluation into the implementation of an effort and deliberately connecting evaluation results back into internal reflection and planning. These lessons mirror those advanced by the notion of strategic learning, which involves using data from a variety of sources—including evaluation—to inform how a strategy is developed and executed.
- The Center for Evaluation Innovation offers a valuable primer on Evaluation to Support Strategic Learning.
- For tips on how to integrate stakeholders into the data analysis process, check out Innovation Network’s white paper on Participatory Analysis.
Finally, yesterday, Tayo Fabusuyi called for the establishment of a community of practice for this field, where evaluators working on advocacy and policy change evaluations can share with and learn from one another.
• The Center for Evaluation Innovation is also working to develop an international advocacy evaluation community of practice – sign up to receive notices on their website.
We’re celebrating Advocacy and Policy Change week with our colleagues in the APC Topical Interest Group. 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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.