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Harold Sharpman on Learning About Evaluation and Grantmaking

My name is Harold Sharpman and while I am an experienced evaluator, my work had been in the private sector and I am not familiar with being part of the granting process – from applying to participating on a grant as an evaluator. I hope to work more with foundations evaluating their grantmaking and in pursuit of that goal, I am improving my own understanding of issues in the field of evaluation and grantmaking. Here are three resources that I found on my journey to increased enlightenment.

Rad Resource  – Grantmakers for Effective Organizations: This organization “challenges the status quo…to help grantees achieve more.” It is the wedding of grantmaking and evaluation. They have a number of public resources available, including:

Rad Resource – Grantcraft: Grantcraft offers “practical wisdom for grantmakers” and is a project of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre. Their materials focus on all aspects of grantmaking and you need to hunt for evaluation focused pieces:

  • Evaluation Technique Seriesa useful set of briefing pages on specific evaluation techniques (Participatory Action Research, Mapping Change, Ethnographic Approaches) that may be useful when trying to explain approaches to stakeholders. These also gave me an idea as to how [at least some] funders think about evaluation approaches.
  • Communicating for Impact

Rad Resource – Council on Foundations: This organization of foundations focuses on ethical, inclusive grantmaking towards the public good.

  • Pros and Cons of Evaluation: This reflective piece is eye-opening, strongly encouraging that when evaluation is done that there is a focus on planning and dissemination and learning from both the process and the results.
  • Search on Evaluation: This returns multiple resources that appear to provide a variety of perspectives and a realistic assessment of what evaluation means both for funders and for programs.

Finally, this post is as much a request as a statement. I am hoping that you might consider sharing the resources you have found most useful in learning about and understanding evaluation in foundations via the comments.

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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