Start Where You Are: Using Program Data to Learn, Manage & Report

Editor’s note: My colleague Deb Stephenson, an advisor to nonprofits on the design and implementation of information systems and a genius at diagnosing and solving technology problems, and I co-authored this post. With all the talk about nonprofits needing to prove their impact and stories about “big data”, pressure to keep up is prompting some … Read more

Making Program Evaluation More Accessible to Nonprofits

I just finished teaching a 2-evening Program Evaluation course at California State University East Bay. This month, I engaged students in a quasi-debate fueled by a 2-part SSIR essay arguing that nonprofit service providers should NOT evaluate their own program outcomes. Because they lack social science research expertise and face conflicts of interest in reporting … Read more

October 2014 Newsletter

What Does “Evidence” Really Mean? Every few months, I read an article or blog post about “evidence-based practices”—and particularly about what constitutes “evidence”. Last year, I read a provocative two-part essay in Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) arguing that nonprofits should NOT evaluate their own work and should leave the creation of “evidence” to the … Read more

What Does “Evidence” Really Mean?

It seems I see a new blog post or article every day on Randomized Control Trials, Evidence-based Practices and what kinds of program evaluation yield acceptable “proof” of impact. A provocative two-part essay in Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) last year argued that nonprofits should NOT evaluate their own work and should leave the creation … Read more