NPF TIG Week: Equitable Collaboration with Nonprofits and Foundations by Susan Wolfe and Ann Price

This AEA365 week is sponsored by the Nonprofit and Foundations (NPF) TIG. The posts are centered around the theme of “Equity focused evaluation in small nonprofits and foundations: Innovations, learnings, and challenges.”

Hi everyone! We are Susan Wolfe of Susan Wolfe and Associates and Ann Price of Community Evaluation Solutions.

As evaluators, we regularly collaborate with nonprofits, foundations, and other organizations. Being a good collaborator is an important skill for evaluators and essential for evaluators prioritizing equity in their work. We always strive to strengthen our professional development, especially engagement in self-reflective practice. We found that self-reflection on our practice and our engagement in communities, especially as members of a privileged group, is important. It insures that we continue to be vigilant and consistent in incorporating equity into our work. Regarding your professional development in equitable evaluation and collaboration in communities, what do you do to strengthen your practice?

Here are a few things we do:

  • Participate in Mastermind groups. The Independent Consulting (IC) TIG periodically offers Mastermind group, which provide a space for support, reflection, and community. We have both been participating in them for the past two years.
  • Have an accountability partner. We often ask each other’s opinion when we have an ethical dilemma, are struggling to help a community coalition see past individual explanations for disparities, or need a shoulder to lean on. Having someone who helps hold you accountable and provides honest feedback is essential. We always tell each other the truth.
  • Journal. Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on what is going well, what you need to improve, and where you need more training helps you grow in your professional competence.
  • Get coaching. Ann hired a business coach 1 ½ ago and Susan recently hired the same coach. Even though we have each been in business a long time, we find it helpful to have someone to help us align our commitment to community change, our business strategies, and financial goals.
  • Participate in professional development. Each year, we both take workshops and classes to strengthen our practice.

Hot Tips

  • Think not only of your skills, but also think about personal qualities. Recognize where you might have ideas and behaviors that could get in the way of working with others in an equitable way. This will open space for growth.
  • Share the stage. Expand your network. Create diverse teams in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, ability status, gender identification, sexuality, and other factors.
  • Help move your community, nonprofit, or foundation clients from individual to systems level explanations of behavior  through your words, examples, frameworks, approach and practice.

Rad Resources

  • Be Anti-Racist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action: This journal by Ibram X. Kendi provides you the opportunity to reflect on your personal commitment and journey to antiracism. 
  • The Black American Tree Project: The Black American Tree Project is an interactive workshop that educates participants about the legacies of slavery in modern American society, its after-effects on Black Americans, and the deep-rooted systems that pervade today.
  • Listening for Justice (L4J): L4J convenes diverse groups of people coming together for racial healing and action for racial justice. 
  • Community Consulting: A Practical Guide for Collaborating with Communities: This forthcoming book by Susan M. Wolfe and Ann Webb Price will be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2023. This book will help consultants working in communities design and manage a successful, respectful community practice that prioritizes systems change.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Nonprofits and Foundations Topical Interest Group (NPFTIG). 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

1 thought on “NPF TIG Week: Equitable Collaboration with Nonprofits and Foundations by Susan Wolfe and Ann Price”

  1. Thomas Sowell’s “Discrimination and Disparities” and Walter E. Williams’ “Race and Economics” are very good books

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