Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of Evaluation Capacity Building

A new paper from the Innovation Network discussing strategies in building evaluation capacity should be on the reading list of program evaluators, trainers, foundations and nonprofit leaders alike. The brief, Evaluation Capacity Building: Funder Initiatives to Strengthen Grantee Evaluation Capacity and Practice by Myia Welsh and Johanna Morariu, examines the process of engaging nonprofits in evaluation capacity building (ECB) to support their programs and operations.

The authors present case studies of evaluation capacity building activities with grantee organizations on behalf of and in collaboration with funders. Some of their lessons learned include,

  • Ensure organizations begin the evaluation capacity building process with a clear grasp of what evaluation is (and isn’t) and how it may best be used within their organizations.
  • Make evaluation a required element of grant reporting.
  • Make capacity building services the default offering – do not make grantee agencies have to self-select into the process.
  • Capacity building goes beyond the executive leadership. All staff matter in good evaluation practices and should be represented in ECB activities.

Has your organization participated in some kind of evaluation capacity building training? How did it impact your evaluation practices?