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Foundation leaders and trustees believe deeply in getting the most impact for their dollars and understand that evaluation can help achieve that goal. But too often, divergent views on the purpose and approach to evaluation get in the way of finding actionable recommendations. With funding from the James Irvine Foundation, FSG developed tools to help foundation leaders guide their boards toward using evaluation techniques in new ways to increase impact.

Top Takeaways

  1. Trustees care deeply about impact, but many disagree about the purpose and best approach to evaluating their foundations’ efforts.
  2. Evaluation is becoming much more important in the philanthropic space, and leading trustees have developed stronger perspectives on how to approach it in the best way.
  3. Foundation leaders can use these tools to facilitate a board-level conversation on new approaches to evaluation that addresses questions like: Why should we evaluate? How should we evaluate? How much will it cost? How can we make it work for our needs?
Trustees across the United States believe there are ways to improve how we determine the effectiveness of social investments. Many are already using proven, practical approaches today.