NPF TIG Week: Claire Sterling on Packing Up This Week’s Lessons…and Bringing Them to Evaluation 2014!

Hello, everyone!  I’m Claire Sterling, Program Co-Chair of the AEA Nonprofit & Foundations TIG and Director, Grant Strategies at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the oldest American animal welfare organization.  For nearly 150 years, the ASPCA has been saving and improving the lives of companion animals through a wide variety of approaches, with grants being officially added to our toolkit in 2008.  Although the ASPCA has a long history in New York City, its impact is also national, leveraged in part by grants to animal shelters, rescue groups, humane law enforcement agencies, sanctuaries, spay/neuter providers, and other organizations all across the country.  Last year alone, the ASPCA gave close to $17.5 million.

Hot Tip:  One of the many perks of my job (apart from having foster cats as co-workers) is having the opportunity to see things from the perspective of both a nonprofit and a foundation since, as a grantmaking public charity, the ASPCA is a hybrid of both.  But even if you work at an organization that is purely one or the other, this week’s AEA365 posts provide a glimmer of both perspectives as well. On behalf of the Nonprofit & Foundations TIG’s leadership, many thanks to this week’s contributors for their pearls of wisdom!

Lesson Learned:  As evaluators at nonprofits and foundations, we often find ourselves at the crossroads where the biggest challenges in direct-service and philanthropic work can converge in overwhelming ways:  urgent community needs that must be addressed with limited resources, mandates to operate with incomplete information, speedy priority shifts, and disconnects between theory and practice.  But as this week’s posts so succinctly demonstrate, where there’s a will, there’s always a way forward.

Rad Resource:  We hope these posts inspire conversations with your TIG peers at Evaluation 2014 October 15-18 in Denver.  Session information for our TIG’s track is now live.  There’s simply no substitute for face-to-face connection!

Rad Resource:  And speaking of good opportunities for connection, while you’re at Evaluation 2014, we hope you’ll attend the Nonprofit & Foundations TIG’s business meeting on Thursday, October 16 from 3:00-4:30pm, which will include a panel discussion for 2nd Edition of Empowerment Evaluationby David M. Fetterman, Shakeh J. Kaftarian, and Abraham Wandersman.  The book presents assessments by notable evaluators from academia, government, nonprofits, and foundations on how empowerment evaluation has evolved since the previous edition’s publication in 1996.

See you in Denver!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Nonprofits and Foundations Topical Interest Group (NPFTIG) Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our NPFTIG 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.



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