Hello! We are Shenandoah Gale, Director of Evaluation & Learning at N Street Village and Andrea Scallon, Director of Measurement, Evaluation & Learning at Miriam’s Kitchen. We serve on the Advisory Council of Measure4Change (M4C) and wanted to share this Rad Resource that increases our capacity in the hopes that you can find ways to replicate our model in your circles, too.
Recognizing a critical nonprofit capacity need around performance measurement, Measure4Change offers nonprofit staff in the Washington, DC region access to a wide, supportive, and skilled network of evaluation staff available for consultation and collaboration, thanks to support from The World Bank Group and Urban Institute. The M4C Community of Practice (CoP) is currently made up of over 200 nonprofit staff who are interested in learning and increasing their capacity in evaluation and performance measurement.
Participating nonprofit organizations and members are at different places on the journey of evaluation. Depending on the size of the nonprofit, sometimes it is the executive director that participates and other times there is a dedicated evaluation staff team. In addition, many nonprofit evaluation staff are ‘accidental evaluators’; staff who may not have a formal background in evaluation and ‘fell’ into the position out of organizational need and personal interest.
Having a focus on building a community provides a network and value for nonprofit staff through peer-to-peer learning. Shared learning sessions greatly enhances opportunities for skill development, informal learning, and the overall capacity of all members by exposing nonprofits to tools to build their programs, making evaluation more accessible by helping members understand the range of practices, where they fit in this range, and how they can advance their programs.
Having evaluation staff introduce their work gives them an elevated forum of presenting their lessons learned to others, as well as sharing strategies and practices they have developed. This allows other nonprofits to hear what does and doesn’t work so that they can replicate. Some examples of this shared learning:
- Workplan templates for evaluation projects
- Strategies for data systems solutions
- Organization wide Data Walks best practices
- Multiple axis charts to show progress towards goals
- Best practices to interface with required legacy government databases
Offering an email group provides additional opportunities for members to ask and share resources, job postings, and much more. This continued ability to learn from each other increases the capacity in each individual and nonprofit.
Learning tools and briefs: Complementing the CoP learning sessions, these publications explain key concepts and address relevant topics.
Measure4Change Playbook: Resource designed to help nonprofits increase their capacity with practical recommendations and strategies.
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