So What?

How Can Nonprofits Create Meaningful Connections?

July 13, 2018  • 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.

Listen — we need your help!

Yes, we are talking to you, faithful—or even unfaithful—“So What?” reader. APEP is partnering with Fund for Shared Insight to explore an intriguing question: How do funders and nonprofits working in US domestic policy and advocacy contexts meaningfully connect with the people and communities they seek to help? Yep, just another super easy question for us advocacy evaluators. So, we naturally thought, who better to ask than you, our savvy “So What” readers?

Here’s the request:

We’re looking for examples of tools, frameworks, approaches, or any other resources that funders or nonprofits have used in order to listen to or meaningfully connect with those they seek to help through their policy/advocacy work.

You can define “listening” and “meaningfully connecting” however you want. Could mean soliciting input from community members. Could be a bona fide feedback loop. Could be something totally different. We’re delightfully open-minded — but remember, please, that our focus is on listening to and connecting with the ultimate intended beneficiaries of policy and advocacy work.

Send us your examples by emailing Many thanks in advance for your contributions!

And for some inspiring examples of foundations with ears and eyes open to the people they seek to serve, check out this report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

 New and improved — no, really!

Our friends at Bolder Advocacy have announced improvements to their Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!), a pioneering online and offline self-assessment designed to make it easier to evaluate and strengthen advocacy capacity. The Bolder Advocacy team is also introducing Spanish versions of ACT! and the short version known as ACT!Quick. You can find all three tools at

So What?
Social Media Can Still Be a Force for Good
June 8, 2018 • Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program