APC Week: Rhonda Schlangen on Joint Evaluation Strategies for Advocacy and Services

My name is Rhonda Schlangen, and I’m an independent evaluation consultant specializing in advocacy and campaign evaluation.

Non-governmental service delivery organizations use advocacy as a lever for greater impact.  They often have a tough time finding useful internal evaluation systems to assess their combined service delivery and advocacy work.  Many service providers try to fall back on established evaluation processes for service delivery M&E—logic models, quantitative client counts—with disappointing results.  Advocacy evaluation is a dynamic and innovative corner of the evaluation world, and offers strategies that can improve M&E of both service delivery and advocacy.

Lesson Learned:

Strategies that work well with advocacy monitoring and evaluation position evaluation as a driver of effectiveness, capitalizing on the critical thinking skills of advocates and evaluators.  Repositioning evaluation as a tool for knowledge generation is particularly critical for advocacy.  Making evaluation more accessible and relevant to those doing the work will likely benefit service delivery as well.

Hot Tips:

  • PLANNING:  Link planning for advocacy and service delivery, but plan for different timeframes of change.  Advocacy will likely be cyclical and ongoing, with service delivery on a more linear path.
  • IMPLEMENTING:  Monitoring implementation with reflective processes focusing on progress, rather than outputs, provides a rich opportunity for joint advocacy/services review that is mutually informing.  Advocacy M&E requires consistent and regular review of, and response to, information.  Service delivery M&E could benefit from those processes as well.
  • EVALUATING:  Add innovative methods to the evaluation mix.  Newer approaches like Outcome Mapping or Outcome Harvesting place social change as a broad outcome to which services and advocacy are contributing strategies.

Rad Resources:

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.

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