Bloggers Series: Ellie Buteau on the CEP Blog

My name is Ellie Buteau. I am the vice-president for research at The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP). CEP is a 10-year old nonprofit organization. Our mission is to provide data and create insight so philanthropic funders can better define, assess, and improve their effectiveness – and, as a result, their intended impact.

Rad Resource – The CEP Blog: CEP’s blog promotes the concepts of data and effectiveness in the field of philanthropy. We provide a variety of content on the blog, including data and insight from our own research, commentary on related news or trends in the field, and guest posts from influential bloggers outside the organization. CEP’s work spans the toughest challenges facing leaders of grantmaking institutions including assessing performance, developing strategy, building funder-grantee relationships, optimizing governance, and managing operations.

Hot Tips – favorite posts: In the two years since its inception, nearly 200 posts have been added to the CEP blog. When I contribute to CEP’s blog, it is typically to share data, introduce new research, or talk about methodology. Here are a few posts that represent the type of content I share on CEP’s blog:

  • 11/23/11 Data Point: Why Aren’t Foundation Boards More Involved in Assessing Performance? In this post, I shared new findings about a long-standing issue that has come through in CEP’s research – the desire for boards to be more involved in assessing how their foundation is doing.
  • 2/17/10 Experimental Design Can Be a Powerful Evaluation Tool Methodology is a hotly debated topic in evaluation and now in philanthropy, too. As I wrote in this post, “Any design should be selected because it is the best way to answer a particular question, and the question to be answered should be directly related to the stage of the organization or program being tested.
  • 9/7/11 What Foundations are Doing to Understand their Effectiveness In this post, I shared some of the key findings from a major research study CEP conducted. We found that when it comes to the topic of performance assessment at large foundations in the United States, “progress is real, but much remains to be done.”

Lessons Learned – why I blog: CEP has accumulated so much data and research over the years. Our blog is a perfect place to make sure we are sharing what we have learned. It is also an ideal venue to hear a variety of perspectives on controversial topics.

Lesson Learned – since I started blogging: Getting to the point quickly is important in posts about data or research. This can be challenging when you want to provide information about the relevant context or methodology, but essential if you want people to read the post and walk away with a clear message.

This winter, we’re running a series highlighting evaluators who blog. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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