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This blog contains posts on the Strategic Evaluation approach at FSG.
Posted by: Efrain Gutierrez on 9/4/2012

A few days ago, I got together with a group of colleagues to dig into the new GEO report “Four Essentials for Evaluation.” The report presents recommendations for developing and strengthening organizations’ capacity to conduct learning oriented evaluations. As we were discussing the report, we all agreed that using evaluation as a tool for learning poses big challenges, even for organizations that are fully committed to learning. In order to truly use evaluation for learning, organizations need to understand that evaluation “is about improvement not just proof,” as highlighted in the GEO report. Organizations also need to integrate and embed evaluation into their everyday practices, processes, and systems to encourage and support continuous learning. So, how do they do it?

Posted by: Valerie Bockstette on 3/10/2012

GEO’s National Conference kicks off this week and a quick peek at the program makes my heart beat joyously. The theme of the conference is Smarter Grantmaking | Stronger Nonprofits | Better Results. This is what the intersection of strategy and evaluation is all about of course. Naturally, there are several sessions dedicated to the topic of “evaluation.” The joy in my heart comes from how these sessions are framed.

Posted by: Efrain Gutierrez on 11/29/2011

I was recently invited to participate in a session for the 2012 National Conference of the Grantmakers for Effective Philanthropy (GEO). The session is titled “The Hard Truth About Strategic Learning in Five Minutes,” and it will include 10 presenters who will share personal insights on the use of evaluation to promote strategic learning in foundations. Since I was invited to this session I have been reflecting on some of my life experiences that illustrate some “hard truths” and lessons learned about implementing strategic learning evaluations. As I reflected on my experiences, I discovered that my passion to use data to inform decision making in organizations started long before I formally started doing evaluations at FSG.

Posted by: Efrain Gutierrez on 8/8/2011

I was recently talking about my experience as an evaluator with a group of students at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle. One of the students made a comment that bothered me a little. She said “Honestly, evaluation doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, it sounds kinda boring!” I really enjoy what I do so I took her statement as a challenge. I know that there are many things happening in the field of evaluation that make it very exciting. Perhaps the most important one is evaluation’s ability to help the philanthropic sector be more strategic.

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