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IMPACT Building capacity to prove and to improve


Portland’s Fellowship and Evaluation


r e t h in kin g t h e de ve l opm e nt o f p eo p le


ret h ink i ng the development of people

Our Need The nonprofit sector in Portland is robust and expansive, but in need of developing collective capacity for evaluating impact. We need greater ability throughout the Northwest for doing crisp, clear, and effective evaluation of impact. We need to get better at evaluation both to prove and to improve our impact. Nonprofits are facing

• • • • •

mounting economic pressures, tightening channels of funding, increasing expectations for accountability from the public, expanding needs for program improvements and innovations, and growing pressures to cause more impact with fewer resources.

We need to get better at evaluating our impact.

• The 2011 Oregon Nonprofit Sector Report found that no more than 15% of Oregon nonprofits measure anything beyond outputs.

• Nonprofit professionals are hungry to have amplified impact, but evaluation capacity is limited for many.

• Opportunities for local training are either workshop-based (limited in rigor) or universitybased (limited in application).

• Expertise is vested mostly in academics, consultants, and foundations, and not embedded in leaders within organizations.

• Evaluations are commonly outsourced and, consequently, less formative for organizations than they could be. We need to develop capacity throughout the Northwest for rigorous inquiry and program innovations based on credible findings. We can do this.


ret h ink i ng the development of people

Our Strategy To develop evaluation capacity, we have designed a 9-month Fellowship to grow a cadre of skillful practitioners from a wide array of nonprofits who will develop exemplars, create fresh evaluation designs, push the sector into new evaluation possibilities, and use evaluation to shape program innovations and renovations. The Fellowship in Evaluation will:

• • • • •

Convene a cadre of high-capacity nonprofit leaders in a collegial learning community. Provide graduate-level training in afternoon/early evening modules once a month. Design and execute fresh evaluation strategies for the participating nonprofits. Build an “innovation kitchen” for exemplars including an online library as a resource for others. Mobilize the Fellows to coach other nonprofits and become resources to the community as Senior Fellows.

How the Fellowship in Evaluation is unique: Capacity-building. The aim is (a) to build a team of evaluation practitioners who are embedded within their organizations but who will coach, mentor, and advise others within the sector, and (b) to build a platform of evaluation exemplars to be available to the nonprofit sector. Developmental.

We recognize that it takes time and practice to gain expertise. Hence, the program is designed to be an iterative process spanning a 9-month period.


A graduate school course would build capacity but yield no evaluation tools or products. A consultant would produce evaluation tools and products but will leave no capacity behind. Project Impact accomplishes both.


Fellows in Project Impact will interact with each other, across agencies, and throughout multiple disciplines within the nonprofit social sector. This will strengthen the evaluation fabric of our community.


For the approximate cost of one MBA course, we will provide graduate-level seminars equivalent to two courses. These will be accompanied by labs for design and development of instruments and protocols and refining evaluation strategy


A library or resource center of exemplars will be posted online and made available to the nonprofit community, along with a growing set of findings that will inform best practices and theories of change in progress.


Fellows will be required to consult in the development of impact evaluation in a non profit other than their own toward the end of the program. This is a way the project “gives back” to the larger nonprofit community and multiplies impact.


The idea is to include not only the nonprofits that are well-resourced, but also those from among under-represented communities in our region.


ret h ink i ng the development of people

Program Fellows will participate in nine modules, each of which has a corresponding lab. Session 1 – How to think about evaluation for social impact (models and underlying presuppositions) Session 2 – Defining program strategy (intended impact, outcomes, and indicators) Session 3 – Designing quantitative instruments (questionnaires and tools) Session 4 – Designing qualitative protocols (in-depth interviews, group interviews, and qualitative observations) Session 5 – Analyzing data (applying rigor to understanding the true meaning of data) Session 6 – Communicating findings (presenting findings, marketing social impact, improving programs, developing innovations) Session 7 – Embedding evaluation strategy in organizational life Session 8 – Using evaluation for the development of organizational effectiveness Session 9 – Coaching others in evaluation design and implementation

Facilitator Steve Patty (Ph.D.) has been training evaluators for the over 20 years. He has taught courses in research design at the doctoral level, trained grantees for foundations like the Lilly Endowment Inc., designed and administered a multi-year evaluation program for the YMCA of the USA in 25 cities across North America including hundreds of managers and thousands of in-depth interviews, led collective impact projects, presented on evaluating impact for Nonprofit Association of Oregon, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Foundation Center of San Francisco, Canadian Evaluation Society, managed international research and evaluation teams in Eastern Europe, designed accreditation strategies for two universities, and consulted with a wide range of nonprofits on evaluating impact.


Project Impact Evaluation Fellowship  
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