Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program
Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program
On "Assessing Advocacy"
Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 | 8:15 - 9:45AM | The Aspen Institute, One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
In "Assessing Advocacy," published in the Spring 2013 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, lead author Nathan Huttner outlines a structured approach to assessing advocacy campaigns. Nathan and his fellow partners at Redstone Strategy Group have used the approach to help leading philanthropies, advocates, and research institutions as they plan and evaluate their investments in advocacy aimed at social change. At this Advocacy Evaluation Breakfast, Nathan will discuss the assessment approach, the research and experiences upon which it is built, pitfalls that have been encountered, and how funders and NGOs have used advocacy assessment to navigate the tricky territory of applying rigorous thinking to the inherently uncertain world of advocacy. Julia Coffman, Director of the Center for Evaluation Innovation, will offer a response.
Nathan Huttner: As an associate principal at Redstone, Nathan has led projects on many topics, including health, education, energy, and climate. In particular, he has significant experience designing and evaluating hard-to-assess advocacy strategies in rapidly changing environments such as those surrounding US K-12 education, or global climate change. Nathan earned a BA from Yale College with distinction in Economics, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where he received 19 distinctions in two years. Between college and graduate school, Nathan was an associate at Katzenbach Partners, a strategy consulting firm founded by former partners of McKinsey and Company. Nathan is a director of the Elmseed Fund.
Julia Coffman: Julia has more than 20 years of experience as an evaluator, and now specializes in the evaluation of advocacy, public policy, and systems change efforts. For 15 years Julia worked with the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP), a research and evaluation organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Julia led HFRP’s evaluation work for over a decade, which included evaluating foundation and nonprofit initiatives and publishing The Evaluation Exchange, a nationally renowned periodical on emerging evaluation strategies and issues. Julia frequently writes and speaks about evaluation. She is the founder and former co-chair of the American Evaluation Association’s Advocacy and Policy Change Topical Interest Group. Julia received her graduate degree in justice studies from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Aspen Institute has over 60 years of experience facilitating dialogue on challenging public policy issues. Through our Advocacy Evaluation Breakfast Series, we bring together innovative experts who are reshaping and redefining the growing field of advocacy evaluation. Explore past events in this collaborative series.
Recent Trainings and Presentations:
APEP's Robert Medina and Angbeen Saleem led a 45-minute workshop at the Eastern Evaluation Research Society's Annual Conference on the Advocacy Progress Planner. Robert and Angbeen presented on APEP's "lessons learned" on evaluating advocacy and proceeded to walk the audience through the Planner's multiple sections. Audience members then worked collaborative on sample Planners for a hypothetical advocacy campaign.
While advocacy has been around since humans were first able to give voice to different opinions, the evaluation of advocacy efforts is still very much in its infancy. The evaluation challenges that advocacy poses are typical of complex social change processes. They include: frequent use of networks and coalitions; different stakeholders holding multiple objectives that may be mutually exclusive; strategy and tactics are highly context-specific; and cause and effect can rarely be attributed. But the field needs some structure in the face of this "rich messiness." APEP's David Devlin-Foltz joined Tayo Fabusuyi of Numeritics in leading a small group discussion, or "think tank," about advocacy evaluation nomenclarure and standards at the American Evaluation Association's 2012 Conference.
In a panel on "Evaluating Advocacy Partnerships" at the American Evaluation Association's 2012 Conference, David Devlin-Foltz discussed APEP's experience as evaluator of several foundation-initiated or foundation-driven advocacy collaboratives. These vary in the degree of foundation influence over collective advocacy strategy, and in the administrative and managerial arrangements that govern the relationships among the actors. They differ as well in the institutions and processes that they seek to influence. But in every case, APEP’s role included helping clients define more clearly their objectives and to examine how their working relationships affected grantees’ ability to achieve these objectives. Bottom line: Sometimes arranged marriages can work.
In this presentation, part of a panel titled "Media Matters. Sure, but How Much?" at the American Evaluation Association's 2012 Conference, David Devlin-Foltz described APEP's collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and NBC News to assess the possible impact of their Education Nation initiative. David reported on how the APEP team applied focus groups, surveys, interviews, “champion tracking,” and qualitative and quantitative media content analysis to help NBC News and the Gates Foundation shape and learn from the Education Nation initiative.
InterAction Outreach Communications Working Group
David Devlin-Foltz presentation: Champions and “Champion-ness”
American Evaluation Association
Lisa Molinaro "coffee-break" webinar featuring the Advocacy Progress Planner
CFED Annual Staff Summit
David Devlin-Foltz presentation on Advocacy: So What?
Spitfire Strategies workshop for foundation program officers
David Devlin-Foltz presentation on measuring champions for policy change
The American Evaluation Association
Advocacy Evaluation: Identifying and Using Interim Outcomes to Tell the Whole Story
Body of Evidence or Firsthand Experience? Evaluation of Two Concurrent and Overlapping Advocacy Initiatives
Grantmakers East Forum
David Devlin-Foltz: Prioritizing Advocacy versus Service Delivery
US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership
David Devlin-Foltz on Measuring advocacy impact on cross-border challenges
KnowHow2GO Policy Day
Lisa Molinaro, Advocacy Progress Planner demonstration