So What?

Despair Not: There Will Be Muffins

November 11, 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 Alex Gabriel

APEP Breakfast: Mapping the Grassroots

To those who are hungry for knowledge (and breakfast), you have an ally in APEP. Join us Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 8:15am for a mouthful of muffins and advocacy evaluation tools. Kat Athanasiades of Innovation Network and Elina Alterman of the Kansas Health Foundation will serve up information on network mapping for advocacy evaluation and top it off by answering the all-important “So what?” — so you don’t go home hungry for meaning. Be sure to RSVP here!

Polls, predictions, and public opinion

After a hair-pulling, head-banging-against-the-wall election, the results are finally in. Polls throughout the election jumped, dipped, and swerved. The growing unreliability of phone surveys forces pollsters to find new ways to capture public opinion. Pundits and pollsters have ventured into new techniques such as analysis of bellwether counties, or (un)skewing polls based on pollsters’ partisan leaning, which led to an expletive-laden debate. Pollsters and polling are doing some soul-searching after Tuesday night, but it is an opportunity for innovation in measuring public opinion.

Philanthropy west and east

As the east coast, west coast feud over the most prolific rapper continues, another E-W split has emerged: this time, over the coasts’ approaches to philanthropy and impact. According to the New York Times, west coasters, entrenched in the startup and innovation tradition, tend to pursue high risk, high impact social initiatives. East coast philanthropists, emerging from more traditional industrial wealth, prefer more incremental or institutional approaches. Yet, these sweeping claims don’t show the whole picture – even within California. Foundations Center’s regional tool can help us scan the philanthropic landscape within the Golden State to see top giving priorities and top foundations.

The Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program helps leading foundations and nonprofit organizations plan, assess and learn from their efforts to promote changes in knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and policies in the US and internationally. To learn more about our tools and services, visit