Hello world! I’m Jara Dean-Coffey, the Principal and founder of jdcPartnerships, a consulting firm working at the intersection of strategy and evaluation primarily with small to mid size organizations in the social and philanthropic sectors focusing on issues related to equity, access and social justice. The name of our blog is To What End? Because where you are going matters.
Rad Resource –To What End? launched in January 2010. The title speaks to our deeply held belief that without “an end in mind”, our individual and collective efforts (regardless of scale and scope) are less meaningful, less impactful and will not lead to sustained and structural change. We launched the blog to provide a space for our own reflection and to advance our practices as well as share the experiences of our clients.
Hot Tips – favorite posts: There are more than 74 posts to date which span a range of topics from updates on our work in the field/in-person, synthesis and reflection on conferences/presentations to general musings about concepts, and terms and discussions of interest. Here are four that stand out:
- 7/12/2010 – Be More Strategic With Your Evaluation: This post gave me the opportunity to share a core frame that guides our evaluation work.
- 10/1/2010 – The Difference Between Simple, Complex and Complicated: Making the distinctions helped me in my own work.
- 3/22/2011 – Living Your Theory of Change: This was a great excuse to talk to CompassPoint about the impact of our work with them.
- 5/17/2011 – Words of Wisdom and Wit from Our Clients: It was fun to share insights from our clients.
Lessons Learned – why I blog: I blog because I enjoy sharing our work and that of our clients with others. And every time I see the title page, it reminds me why we do this work and forces me to ask myself “ to what end”. But more specifically, blogging provides me with a space to
- Share and build my own knowledge and expertise
- Demystify evaluation, strategy and the intersection between them
- Reflect on issues, ideas and experiences
- Connect with others that I may not come across in day to day (also why I tweet @jdeancoffey)
Lessons Learned: I am still getting in the hang of having a more consistent blog presence. Truth be told, I have more than 40 titles in the queue but am committed in 2012 to actually writing the preferred 250 to 500 words to fill them out.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.