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.
Do Foundations Know What Works?
The estimable Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) wants to know, um, what it means to do philanthropy effectively. They asked foundation leaders how well they think they understand what is and isn’t working. CEP’s latest research report, Understanding & Sharing What Works: The State of Foundation Practice, draws on 119 survey responses and in-depth interviews with 41 CEOs of private and community foundations. One key (and possibly disturbing) finding: “the report finds that almost two-thirds of foundation CEOs say they understand very or extremely well what is working in their foundation’s overall efforts to achieve its goals, yet fewer than half say they understand very or extremely well what is not working in those efforts.” (Emphasis added.) That’s a shame. Foundation CEOs should perhaps follow this wise advice from the interwebs that someone once possibly said: “Sometimes you win. And sometimes you learn.”
Is My Social Movement Healthy?
Good question. And unless your movement is showing obvious signs of tarantism or clinomania, it can be difficult to answer. Luckily, our friends at InnoNet are working to sharpen our collective ability to provide answers through their Social Movement Learning Project. At the recent annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association, they presented a framework and set of indicators to help guide assessment of whether and how social movements build four types of power: institutional, people, influencer, and narrative. We like how the definitions and indicators for power building provide a useful starting point for defining relevant metrics and data sources. Definitely a handy resource for any aspiring social movement health practitioner.
Making Social Media Habit-Forming: The Movie!
We were delighted that 23 dedicated evaluation and advocacy wonks braved the November 15 snows and joined us for the latest Aspen Evaluation Breakfast as Edith Asibey made the case for how understanding data, behavior science, and habits can help advocates communicate more effectively via digital and social media. Here are the video and PowerPoint slides so you can check it out, or relive the experience, minus snow and bagels. Note: Open the description below the Youtube video for time cues that can help you find the parts of her presentation that interest you most.