So What?

Good food, good practice, good theory, good-bye

December 16, 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

Taste it, see it, believe it

Days later, we are still chewing on the leftover bagels and the ideas from our fruitful APEP Evaluation Breakfast on December 13th. Many thanks to Kat Athanasiades and Elina Alterman for their insights from developing a powerful social network analysis of advocacy groups in Kansas. Kat and Elina explored how they mapped this universe, what they learned, and how it has helped the Kansas Health Foundation make more strategic advocacy funding decisions. Bonus: cool data viz and a chance to meet Elina’s mom. If you missed it, you can still check out their presentation slides here. And for those hungry for food and ideas, see what’s next below.

New Year, new ideas, fresh bagels

Besides buying useless gym memberships, the New Year invites everyone to take a look inside and reflect. At APEP, we encourage the evaluation field to do the same with a round of coffee and sugar-laced pastries. And so we welcome Chris Stalker of Oxfam, and Josh Joseph and Michele Lempa of Pew Charitable Trusts – internal evaluators and thoughtful communicators – to host an APEP Evaluation Breakfast conversation on January 12th at 8:15 am on how evaluators operate within the priorities and politics of an organization. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Powerful ideas, powerful women – and no pastry references

Theory of change (TOC) templates may seem a little passé or elementary for our cool-guy readership, but it’s wonderful to see how useful a good TOC tool can be: take this post from the International Women’s Health Coalition about some feisty young Kenyans using this classic guide to TOC development from my wonderful former Aspen Institute colleagues Andrea Anderson and Anne Kubisch (getting misty-eyed here).

Good-bye, 2016. You’ve done quite enough. No, really. I say “good day,” sir, and be gone!

Look for your next dose of So What-itude on Friday, January 6th, 2017. In the meantime, happy holidays and many thanks to our loyal readers.

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