Washington Evaluators Affiliate Week: Embodying DEIA principles in WE’s Outreach by Natalie Donahue

Hello! My name is Natalie Donahue and I served as the Washington Evaluators (WE) Membership Chair from 2019-2021 and have now transitioned to the role of President-Elect. As I think about the work the WE Board conducted in 2021, I am especially proud of our membership numbers. We started the year with 370 members and ended with 575 – an increase in membership of more than 60%. We doubled our student members, increased the number of organizational sponsors from 14 to 20 (accounting for nearly 75 of our members), and saw our membership grow worldwide with members spanning 11 different countries on five continents. 

Lessons Learned:

As WE President Esther Nolton mentioned earlier this week, continuing WE’s virtual programming has allowed us to be more inclusive and attract a wider range of members. Not only do we have members from several countries and throughout the United States, but we saw an increase in the number of members who are just outside of the Washington DC metro area who can now be a part of their local evaluation community without having to fight the horrible DC traffic to do so.

Lessons Learned:

In addition to attracting more members due to virtual programming, the WE membership team also conducted targeted outreach to numerous membership types:

  • We used the already-existing FedEval list to notify federal evaluators of the great programming WE had planned and encouraged them to join us
  • Conducted outreach to various departments (education, political science, public policy, etc.) at local universities to attract both the professors to become members and encourage their students to join as well
  • Encouraged our organizational sponsors to take advantage of their full membership offerings and ensure they had all five of their memberships extended to personnel within their organizations 

Cool Trick:

As programming and membership go hand in hand, I’ve never been able to discuss an increase in membership numbers without tipping my hat to the great work of the WE Programs and Community Engagement committees. All of our amazing events, the pro bono evaluation work we do in communities around the world through our Evaluation Without Borders program, and being able to get some insight from a fellow evaluator through joining Mentor Minutes, is invaluable to being able to promote WE to potential and/or new members.

We would love for you to consider joining the Washington Evaluators. Take a look at some of our upcoming events and our programs, and sign up: https://washingtonevaluators.org/application. We look forward to seeing you at a WE Members Event in the near future.


The American Evaluation Association is hosting Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from WE Affiliate 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@eval.org. 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.

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