Transforming Knowledge into Change

Evaluating Foundation-Supported Capacity Building: Lessons Learned

This study of lessons learned from evaluations of philanthropic capacitybuilding programs used a national database of 473 programs, and a survey and interviews with 87 funders (82 foundations or foundation collaboratives, and five foundation-supported intermediaries) to answer two questions:

(1) How do foundations that support nonprofit capacity building evaluate their grantmaking and direct service activities?

(2) What lessons can be learned from valuation, both to improve these programs and justify the investments made in them?

Major findings from the study include the following:

* 2/3 of the foundations studied evaluate their capacity-building grantmaking or direct service programs; more than 3/4 of intermediaries evaluate their activities.

* Nearly 3/5 of these foundations make results from evaluation available publically.

* 2/5 of these foundations evaluate on an ongoing basis, another 1/5 do it annually.

* Foundations studied most often use surveys and interviews to gather evaluation data, but they use a number of other methods as well.

* Investments in evaluation efforts by 87 funders ranged from $500 to $1,250,000, with a mean of about $69,500 and a median
of $15,000.


Bibliographic Details
Author Thomas E. Backer, Jane Ellen Bleeg & Kathryn Groves
Publisher Human Interaction Research Institute
Publication Date January 1, 2010
Publication City Encino, CA
Publication Work
Resource Type
Resource Focus
Submitted to Point K April 27, 2011 - 9:54am

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