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Scot Evans

Looking Through the Right End of the Telescope | CEI - 0 views

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    A dialogue has emerged in recent years among advocates, evaluators, and funders concerned with evaluating advocacy. Earlier questions about whether it was even possible to evaluate advocacy have been answered for the most part (in the affirmative), and dialogue is now focused on the development of methodological innovations that can respond to the real and perceived challenges of evaluating advocacy. We argue that the focus on new tools and approaches as part of this ongoing dialogue may belie the complexity of advocacy. Attention to the specific role of tools and how they are used can improve the chances that evaluation can more effectively support advocacy.
Scot Evans

Foundation's Consumer Advocacy Health Reform Initiative Strengthened Groups' Effectiveness - 0 views

  • The foundation wanted to know how the advocacy networks were structured and how they operated; whether their ability to advocate increased during the initiative; and whether, and to what degree, consumers shaped state policy on health insurance coverage
  • To address these questions, Mathematica surveyed and interviewed network leaders, and conducted focus groups with them. We developed scales to measure changes in each of the six core capacities.5 To understand whether and how consumers influenced policy decisions, we reviewed records of the networks’ advocacy strategies and activities and interviewed state policy makers.
Scot Evans

The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy (May 18, 2011) | Stanford Social Innovation Re... - 0 views

  • The key is not strategy so much as strategic capacity: the ability to read the shifting environment of politics for subtle signals of change, to understand the opposition, and to adapt deftly.
  • Grantmakers should also focus on the aggregate return on investment of their entire portfolio of grants, not the success or payoff of any one grant.
  • We believe that the proper focus for evaluation is the long-term adaptability, strategic capacity, and ultimately influence of organizations themselves.
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  • Portfolio evaluation, by averaging out a number of investments over a longer period of time, also prevents the risk of over-attribution of success or failure to factors that are entirely exogenous to the activities of those they are investing in.
  • Evaluating advocacy organizations means paying close attention to the value they generate for others, rather than only focusing on their direct impacts.
  • Equally important is an organization’s strategic capacity, which can be defined not only as its formal strategic plan, or the wisdom of its senior leadership (two factors that funders tend to focus on), but also the organization’s overall ability to think and act collectively, and adapt to opportunities and challenges.
  • A good organization has a coherent and inspiring internal culture, the ability to consistently identify and motivate talented people, acquire and process intelligence, and effectively coordinate its actions. Effective advocacy organizations—such as Planned Parenthood, which recently maneuvered through a significant shift in their political alliances on reproductive rights—have a record of innovating and reorganizing when their tactics don’t work as well as they once did.
  • “network evaluation”—figuring out its reputation and influence in its policy space.
  • The real art of advocacy evaluation, which is beyond the reach of quantitative methods, is assessing influence, which is what funders are really paying for.
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