So What?

Evaluating Advocacy: Views from the US and China

June 23, 2017  • Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program

The biweekly “So What?” guide highlights advice, events, and tips – mostly from the advocacy and evaluation worlds, selected by the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program. We’re a consulting practice at the Aspen Institute that partners with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and individual funders to help them strengthen their efforts to bring about positive change in society.

Advocacy and Policy Change Evaluation: Now 20% off!
APEP was happy to host last week’s glittering evening reception and book talk featuring Annette Gardner, and a great panel discussing Advocacy and Policy Change Evaluation: Theory and Practice, co-authored by Annette and her UCSF colleague, Claire Brindis. We’ll be featuring some clips from the event in our next issue, but in the meantime: check out Annette’s presentation slides  and this blogpost from Annette and Clairon evaluating activism.  And help make Stanford University just a little less obscenely wealthy by using the 20% discount code APCE20 when you order the book.

Advocacy and evaluation: a view from China
The APEP team recently bid a fond farewell to Alex Gabriel and last week welcomed his worthy successor, Lizhong Liu, fresh from her first year in a public policy Master’s program at the University of Chicago. Lizhong plunged right into APEP madness, helping to host our APEP book event. Here are her reactions.

I was amazed that there exists such a comprehensive network of advocacy evaluation in the US: highly-educated and specialized scholars/evaluators, evolving methodologies of evaluation, and supportive NGOs focused on advocacy are really making changes. Advocacy is also becoming more common in China, especially among youth. Chinese advocates might never be powerful enough to boost policy changes in the U.S. manner, but they can contribute in many other ways. This grassroots group started a “clean your plate” campaign in 2013, asking people to order less in restaurants, pack leftovers, and reduce food waste. Government noticed and supported the campaign. The media started to report on it. A post on Weibo (China’s version of twitter) was retweeted more than 50 million times within 10 days. Perhaps evaluators should see if it has actually reduced food waste!