Nonprofit Organizations

CHANGE (and Theories there of)

October 29, 2010  • Paul L. Sparks and Lisa Molinaro

President Obama defends “Change you can believe in,” but adds a reality check on the timeline:
In his interview on The Daily Show Wednesday evening, President Obama reminded Americans that change takes time! This lesson is a constant in the advocacy world. The President noted that our broadest social safety net – Social Security – was adopted piecemeal over decades. For President Obama’s complete interview with Jon Stewart, click here.

Theory of Change we can believe in?
Not so much. The “White Courtesy Telephone” blog takes on “Debunking theories of change” (TOCs). How useful is an explicit TOC for a nonprofit? This blogger argues that funders often waste the time of seasoned professionals by asking for unrealistically precise and definitive TOCs. Our theory? TOCs are most useful when funders and advocates agree that it’s a living document – not the final word.

Changes to the APEP Team
On Monday, APEP welcomed Paul Sparks as our new full-time Project Associate. Paul brings experience in large- and small-scale evaluations in developing countries. His recent projects include a study on spousal communication and contraceptive use in the rural low-lands of Nepal, and client assessment research for microfinance programs in Zambia and Ecuador. In his limited spare time Paul enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with South-Asian cuisine, and writing songs.