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.
Who benefits from advocacy efforts? Hint: Don’t use the “B” word
As we noted last week, APEP is hard at work collecting insights into how funders and nonprofits listen to and meaningfully connect with the people they seek to assist through their policy and advocacy efforts. This is part of a landscape scan that Fund for Shared Insight plans to use to inform its efforts and to share with the field more broadly.
We have already received some excellent “feedback on feedback” from our trusty “So What?” readers: cool examples of tools and approaches that funders or nonprofits have used to listen to or connect with those they aim to help. And early responses have surfaced a terminology question: What do we call those who might benefit from these advocacy interventions? We agree with organizations who resist the term “beneficiary” — it can be demeaning and patronizing. “Constituents” has confusing political overtones. What’s a persnickety English major to do?
We’re eager to hear more, so don’t be shy! Send your examples of listening in policy/advocacy contexts to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data visualization at a global scale
A hat tip to Steve Commins of the UCLA Luskin School for relaying this blog post from Igarape Institute in Brazil about ways that “maps reveal hidden truths about cities.” Data viz geeks and map freaks: Igarape’s EarthTime platform has some very dramatic video showing global trends over time, and into the future. And if you haven’t checked out Hans Rosling’s data visualizations of global trends, you’re in for a non-geeky treat.
Learning can be a habit: actually, five habits
Like sensible evaluators everywhere, we try to help our clients learn from what they and we collaborate to produce. But what do we really know about how to learn? The always estimable Julia Coffman wrote this piece for Medium on how to “build learning habits into daily routines.”