So What?

Count What Really Counts

February 19, 2016  • Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program

“So What?” – Your BI-Weekly Guide to Advocacy With Impact

Lovingly selected and lightly snarked by Team APEP: David Devlin-Foltz, Susanna Dilliplane, and Christine Ferris

Another mole digs up some crummy evaluation dirt

Our loyal readers will recall our recent reference to former employees criticizing sleazy practices and misguided impact measurement at the Wounded Warriors Project, and to insider critics of Charity Navigator’s reliance on overhead levels as an indicator of program quality. The Guardian’s “secret aid worker” slams his own development aid organization for its tendency to “recycle some mindless statistics and keep the volunteers queuing up and paying in.” Ouch.  For the polar opposite, highest-end guidance on presumably rigorous development impact assessment, check out this 266-page guide from the World Bank.

Networked power

There’s been no shortage of news surrounding the internet-enabled sharing economy.  (Uber much?)  This New Yorker article highlights how Uber drivers used social media to organize and form a 21st century labor movement.  But you don’t need the interwebs to beat The Man. A strike by tea plantation workers in Kerala, India made headlines last fall for being the first strike entirely organized by women and entirely organized by the workers, without the leadership of a union or trade organization. Both stories highlight the ability to leverage networks. This piece by SSIR discusses how nonprofits can do the same.

Research results and policy change?

APEP-pers are confessed fans of policy advocacy as a potential lever of systemic change. As denizens of a quasi think tank, we even like to imagine that research can have an impact on policy. Now comes the vaunted Overseas Development Institute, offering this very smart new monitoring and evaluation framework geared toward assessing the impact of policy research. A wonky (lunar) new year’s gift to lucky development aid advocates and their evaluators.

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