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Module 4: Unit 5

Learning and evaluation

Learning to evaluate your family's philanthropy is necessary to learning and growing.

In this unit you will learn why evaluation is so important, hear stories from other families, and gain some insight on how to actually go about evaluating.

Read (30 minutes)
Where should we start in using evaluation as a tool for learning? Read this article to learn more about the struggles and challenges of conducting evaluations as well as some tips to overcome these challenges.
Read (10 minutes)
Smarter Site Visits Read this article for 4 simple steps to smarter site visits.
Read (45 minutes)
Measuring what counts: Meaningful evaluation for family foundations This NCFP Issue Brief focuses on techniques for family foundations interested in cost-effective assessments of their giving.
Read (10 minutes)
Monitoring, assessment, and evaluation policy (Tremaine Foundation) This sample policy from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation describes how one foundation views the overall purpose and goal of its monitoring and evaluation activities.
Read (5 minutes)
Evaluate an organization: Information for next gen donors This special information sheet provides important questions for any Next Gen Donor to ask yourself about an organization
Read (30 minutes)
Building community capacity for participation in evaluation: Why it matters and what works Read this briefing on evaluation in foundations to begin to understand why evaluation is so necessary and how to go about starting.
Read (15 minutes)
Four essentials for evaluation This article goes deeper into the makeup of evaluation and looks specifically at the four essentials for evaluation: lead, plan, organize, and share.
Tune-in (60 minutes)
Measuring effectiveness as a family philanthropy Watch this webinar to learn from other families on the topic of evaluation.
Tune-in (60 minutes)
Keeping grantmakers and grant seekers from drowning in paperwork This webinar describes how foundations small and large are using new streamlining methods to be more effective grantmakers - remember, more information is not always better!
Do (60 minutes)

Arrange your own site visitsoup-kitchen-volunteering

One way to evaluate your family's grantmaking is to go on site visits (both pre and post) to the organizations your family is funding.

Completing the Activity: Tips for Arranging a Site Visit

- Use a script for initial conversation with agency staff to arrange a site visit.
- Practice until you can say it naturally, or use your own words.

Ask to speak to the director of the agency then say:

“Hello, my name is ______________________________ and I’m a member of the _________________________ foundation. Through this foundation, we an opportunity to give out _______________ to a non-profit organization of our choice. I/we have always been concerned about (kids with disabilities, homelessness, etc. whatever your area of concern is) and I am impressed by your organization’s work in this area. I would like to find out more about your organization. Could I arrange a time when I could come visit your site and talk to you about how you might be able to use the funds?”

Date of Visit:
Name of Contact Person:

Possible things to think about during and after your visit:
1. How would the organization use the grant?
2. Did you feel welcome?
3. What did you like about the organization? /not like?
4. Ask for literature.
5. Which organization would make the most effective use of the money?
6. Are they already getting a lot of funding elsewhere?
7. You may want to take along a camera, but ask permission to take pictures.

This activity was provided by: The Andrus Fund

Do (10 minutes)


Reflect on your site visit and evaluation experience

Completing the Activity: Take a few moments to jot down some of your thoughts and memories about your participation in this activity. What did you like the best? What was the most difficult part? If you had to do it over again, would you do it differently? Write about something that surprised you, the people you met, or something you learned.