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Use of Evaluative Information in Foundations: Benchmarking Data Patrizi Associates June 2010 Use of Evaluative Information in Foundations: Benchmarking Data Patrizi Associates June 2010

Study Purpose Benchmark foundation practices regarding evaluation functions and responsibilities and how evaluation resources Study Purpose Benchmark foundation practices regarding evaluation functions and responsibilities and how evaluation resources are deployed. Explore perceptions of how well foundations use evaluative information. Explore patterns of “demand” for evaluative information. Set the stage for the July 2010 Evaluation Roundtable Meeting to: Consider how evaluative information can be used effectively to advance foundation capacity to develop and guide strategy in complex and challenging environments. 2

Study Overview About the study The focus of this study is on “evaluative information” Study Overview About the study The focus of this study is on “evaluative information” rather than on “evaluation” in order to capture the range of functions and products used by foundations to gauge their own effectiveness. The questions were posed to those responsible for evaluation in each of the participating foundations. Although we’ve conducted benchmarking studies in the past, they were more narrowly focused on “evaluation, ” more qualitative in nature, and included between 10 -14 foundations. We are reluctant to use these as true points of comparison. However, we’ve included some historical references in this presentation based on these previous Evaluation Roundtable studies and from interviews conducted as part of this study. Approach 33 foundations (US and Canada) with a history of strong evaluation use were invited to participate. We sent a web-based survey to the person who led the evaluation unit or had major responsibility for evaluation. 31 foundations completed the survey. 26 foundations returned foundation expenditure information. Time period of study Study conducted in Summer 2009. Respondents were asked to provide data from time period 2007 and 2008 and to reflect on changes over the last five years. Analysis We examined overall responses to identify patterns across respondents and segmented responses by: – Size of the foundation’s yearly grantmaking: • Foundations under $50 million • Foundations $50 million and under $200 million • Foundations $200 million and over – Reporting structure: Whether the evaluation unit reports to the CEO, program leader, or administrative leader. Caveat The sample size is small, although it includes over 50% of foundations with grantmaking over $200 million annually and nearly 15% of those awarding over $50 million annually. The universe of foundations of interest is even smaller, in light of our criterion for study participation that a foundation has an expressed/ demonstrated strong interest in evaluation. 29 participated in follow-up phone interviews. 3

Participating Foundations by Grantmaking Size and Reporting Structure Evaluation Reports to Foundations Under $50 Participating Foundations by Grantmaking Size and Reporting Structure Evaluation Reports to Foundations Under $50 Million Foundations Between $50 to $200 Million CEO Bruner Foundation* Colorado Trust Edna Mc. Connell Clark Barr Foundation* Marin Community California Endowment Lumina Foundation Rockefeller Foundation California Health Care Annie E. Casey Foundation California Wellness Ford Foundation Kellogg Foundation Packard Foundation J. W. Mc. Connell Family Foundation New York State Health Foundation Administrator Foundation Program Foundation Kauffman Foundations Above $200 Million Cleveland Foundation Hewlett Foundation James Irvine Foundation Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Ontario Trillium Foundation Wallace Foundation William Penn Foundation Hilton Foundation Knight Foundation Atlantic Philanthropies Gates Global Health*+ Gates Global Development*+ Gates U. S. Program*+ Pew Charitable Trusts * These foundations did not provide evaluative information expenditure data. + Because of the unique nature of the BMGF’s operations, they were counted as 3 separate foundations. At the time of the survey, evaluation staff reported to an administrator; shortly after the survey administration, the Foundation delegated this function to the three program presidents. 4

Study Context: Forces Shaping the Evolution of Evaluation in Foundations The evaluation function in Study Context: Forces Shaping the Evolution of Evaluation in Foundations The evaluation function in philanthropy is relatively new, dating to the late 1970’s early 1980 s with a large expansion of the number of foundations with dedicated evaluation staff in the 1990 s. Evaluation emerged during a period of professionalization of philanthropy, when many foundations shifted their approach from that of a charitable grant maker responding to grant requests toward a more directive and purposeful role as a “strategist. ” With their expanded role as a strategic actor, foundations increased their attention to evaluation. To be a strategic philanthropy soon became linked to being an “effective” philanthropy and with this, an increased focus on measurement. Reflecting this overall shift toward strategic philanthropy, evaluation units have expanded their focus from assessing whether grantees are effective toward assessing whether foundation strategies are effective and whether foundations “add value. ” A look at the trends in evaluation unit titles is revealing. We hypothesize that much of this evolution corresponds to the growth of strategic philanthropy. Trends in Evaluation Unit Titles 1980 s Early 1990 s Late 1990 s 2000 s Research and evaluation Planning and evaluation Organizational learning Impact “something” Strategic “something” 5

Study Context: Tensions and Challenges The role and function of evaluation sits astride several Study Context: Tensions and Challenges The role and function of evaluation sits astride several philosophical debates related to this evolution of philanthropy, largely pivoting around the degree to which evaluation serves to increase “learning” vs. its role in assuring accountability. This core tension is played out in numerous questions regarding reporting, responsibility, orientation (internal or external) and level of resources relative to value. In the shift toward strategic philanthropy, foundations have been challenged to reframe evaluation from an older model of “post hoc” assessment of grantees for accountability to one that examines their own work and is structured to inform strategy from start to finish. This shift has resulted in many changes in the roles, responsibilities and structure of the evaluation function. This survey sought to describe how foundations use “evaluative information” (in its many forms) to guide their work and to analyze whether reporting relationship or size affects the use of evaluative information. We looked at: – The range of foundation activities employed to produce evaluative information – The resources available for these functions – Perception of internal use and demand for evaluative information by different groups internal to foundations This study sets the stage for discussion at the Evaluation Roundtable Meeting: Information and Its Use in Supporting Strategy. We hope to reflect on the data and its implications for what foundations need to enhance strategic learning. 6

Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Staffing and Budget III. Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information 7

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities What Functions Do Evaluation Units Perform? What are the principal Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities What Functions Do Evaluation Units Perform? What are the principal responsibilities of your unit? Most foundations have expanded the role of the unit beyond supporting evaluations, including but not limited to the functions illustrated in the table. Evaluation units have a major role in knowledge management in 60% of responding foundations, and this is more often the case when staff report to the CEO (73%) or to program (67%). Only 40% of those reporting to administrators are involved in knowledge management in any way. Two developments have emerged as important aspects of the job: involvement in performance metrics and in program strategy. We know from prior work that an evaluation unit’s involvement in strategy development was relatively rare five years ago; now 90% have a role in strategy. 8

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities What Types of Evaluative Activities Do Evaluation Units Do? Which Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities What Types of Evaluative Activities Do Evaluation Units Do? Which of the following types of evaluation/performance metric activities does your foundation do? There has been an increase in all types of evaluative information. In the past individual grant and initiative evaluations made up the majority of the portfolio of foundation evaluation work. Now, although nearly all foundations surveyed still evaluate individual grants and initiatives, the vast majority of those surveyed support the full spectrum of evaluative activities listed above. Indicators work and strategy evaluations are increasingly important part of the portfolio of work, whereas this was relatively rare five years ago. Evaluations of larger aspects of foundation work, such as entire program area assessments and foundation-wide assessments, are also more common; however, about 25% of the foundations responding typically do not conduct these types of assessments. * This chart does not include when “other units” have primary responsibility. 4% of respondents indicated that another unit had primary responsibility for each activity except perception surveys, where 21% of foundations delegated this responsibility to an “other unit. ” 9

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities How is Responsibility for Evaluation Distributed Throughout Foundations? We asked Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities How is Responsibility for Evaluation Distributed Throughout Foundations? We asked a series of questions about which unit in the foundation takes “primary” responsibility for an evaluative task. Response options were: – My unit has primary responsibility – Program has primary responsibility – My unit and program share responsibility – Other unit has responsibility – My foundation does not do this type of work The purpose of these questions was to surface information regarding the role of evaluation staff in relation to program staff in the work of evaluation 10

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities Evaluation Is Not Exclusively the Responsibility of Evaluation Staff Which Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities Evaluation Is Not Exclusively the Responsibility of Evaluation Staff Which unit has primary responsibility: evaluation, program, or shared? Evaluation units tend to have primary responsibility when the focus of assessment is larger (i. e. , strategy or foundation-wide evaluations) and conversely, program staff tend to have primary responsibility for individual evaluations, a smaller focus of assessment. In most foundations, program staff assumes a great deal of the responsibility for most types of evaluation. – Most foundations give evaluation staff primary responsibility for foundation level assessments (including perception surveys) – Program staff have at least shared if not primary responsibility for identifying and tracking indicators of grantmaking performance 11

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities Allocation of “Primary Responsibility” Differs Considerably Based on Reporting Structure Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities Allocation of “Primary Responsibility” Differs Considerably Based on Reporting Structure Evaluation Reports to CEO reports are much more likely to have “primary responsibility” for every type of evaluation and assessment. Evaluation Reports to Administrator Units reporting to an administrator are also more likely to have “primary responsibility” for most evaluative activities, except identifying and tracking foundation indicators. Evaluation Reports to Program A much different picture emerges if evaluation reports to program. Not one evaluation unit reporting to program has “primary responsibility” for individual grant evaluations, strategy evaluations, entire program area assessments, or for identifying grantmaking performance indicators. 12

Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities: Program Strategy Assistance Evaluation Units Assume an Increased Role in Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities: Program Strategy Assistance Evaluation Units Assume an Increased Role in Program Strategies Evaluation units now have at least some role in the strategy development process, with nearly all respondents reporting that they are at least “somewhat” or “heavily involved” at both the start and end/renewal points of program strategy. Overall, 64% report that they are “heavily involved” in strategy discussions in the early stages of strategy development and nearly the same (61%) report heavy involvement at the end or renewal point. Overall participation in strategy drops off considerably in the “ongoing” stages of strategy evolution, with only 27% reporting that they are heavily involved in “providing feedback or critique” in an ongoing basis. However, respondents who report to the CEO are more involved in program strategy at every stage of the strategy cycle (outset, on-going and end) than those reporting to others. 13

Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Functions and Responsibilities The role of evaluation has expanded, particularly in Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Functions and Responsibilities The role of evaluation has expanded, particularly in program strategy There is an increase in types of evaluative activities employed Reporting structure varies and seems to affect who has primary responsibility Thought starters: – How does the distribution of responsibility reflect learning or accountability? What are the tradeoffs? – How do you interpret the way in which role of evaluation differs under each reporting relationship studied? – What kind of skills do program staff need to meet their responsibilities in the design and implementation of evaluations/ evaluative activities? – Why does the evaluation role in program strategy drop off during implementation? 14

Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Staffing and Budget III. Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information 15

Evaluation Resources Tracking Spending on Evaluative Information Nearly every foundation found it difficult to Evaluation Resources Tracking Spending on Evaluative Information Nearly every foundation found it difficult to provide data on evaluation spending. Most foundations do not systematically track these costs. We asked respondents to submit estimates* of their spending on a range of “evaluative information” activities where the foundation is a “primary user, ” including: – Evaluations – Collection of data for indicators of foundation or program performance, and – Other related expenditures to gather data to inform knowledge of foundation effectiveness We received expenditure data from 26 foundations. Those not submitting these data are asterisked on slide 4. Neither the largest foundation (BMGF) or the smallest (Bruner) is included in the analysis. To augment these data, we asked staff for their perceptions about how spending for evaluative information compared to spending on grants over the last five years. * We have every reason to believe that respondents submitted as accurate a number as possible. Those respondents who felt like the could not get good estimates did not participate in this part of the survey. 16

Evaluation Resources The Percentage Spent on Evaluative Information (Relative to the Grant Budget) Varies Evaluation Resources The Percentage Spent on Evaluative Information (Relative to the Grant Budget) Varies Greatly Dollars Spent on Evaluative Information and as a Percentage of Grantmaking Budget Foundation Size Mean Median Minimum Maximum Overall $4, 664, 652 3. 7% $1, 629, 313 2. 2% $212, 451 0. 3% $28, 719, 575 17. 8% Tier 1: Under $50 million $1, 150, 068 7. 2% $1, 054, 500 7. 4% $212, 451 0. 8% $3, 000 17. 8% Tier 2: $50 to $200 million $2, 354, 650 2. 4% $1, 513, 145 1. 6% $273, 281 0. 3% $10, 650, 000 6. 5% Tier 3: Over $200 million $12, 139, 240 2. 6% $6, 037, 536 2. 3% $500, 000 0. 3% $28, 719, 575 4. 9% Although the highest percent spent on evaluative information was 17. 8%, nearly 40% of all foundations surveyed invest less than 1% on these activities. Smaller foundations tend to invest a greater portion of their grantmaking budget than those in the other two tiers, with the majority spending over 7% of their grant making budget. In addition, those who report to the CEO and Administrators have invested 33+% more on evaluative information than those who report to program. These data are based on two years of spending for both evaluative information and the grants: FY 2007 and 2008. These data should be considered estimates as many foundations do not formally track this information. 17

Evaluation Resources Most Respondents Perceived an Increase in Evaluation Investments Prior to the Economic Evaluation Resources Most Respondents Perceived an Increase in Evaluation Investments Prior to the Economic Downturn Not considering the recent economic downturn – Over the last five years, what is your perception of how funding levels for evaluation have changed relative to shifts in the size of the grants budget? All Respondents Availability of Evaluation Funds Compared to Grantmaking Spending By Reporting Structure Net of Recent Economic Downturn Availability of Evaluation Funds Compared to Grantmaking Spending CEO Admin Program Increased Dramatically 3% Increased 67% 78% 38% Increased Somewhat 59% Stayed Same 33% 22% 38% Stayed about the Same 31% Decreased 0% 0% 25% Decreased Somewhat 7% Decreased Dramatically 0% Not Considering the Economic Downturn: Most respondents believe that evaluation spending “increased somewhat” compared to their foundations’ grantmaking spending. Respondents who perceived increases in investment were largely those reporting to the CEO or an administrator. Compared to those reporting to program, more than twice as many administrator reports and 60% more of those reporting to CEOs responded that their foundation increased their investments in evaluation. Decreases in spending on evaluation were perceived only in units reporting to program. 18

Evaluation Resources What was the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Evaluation? How has Evaluation Resources What was the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Evaluation? How has the recent economic downturn affected the amount of funds available for evaluation compared to those available to grantmaking? All Respondents Availability of Evaluation Funds Compared to Grantmaking Spending By Reporting Structure Considering Economic Downturn Availability of Evaluation Funds Compared to Grantmaking Spending CEO Admin Program Increased Dramatically 0% Increased 8% 20% 0% Increased Somewhat 10% Stayed Same 75% 50% 57% Stayed about the Same 62% Decreased 17% 30% 43% Decreased Somewhat 21% Decreased Dramatically 7% Considering the Economic Downturn: In most foundations, the poor economy did not affect investment in evaluation more than it did grantmaking. The majority of respondents reports that evaluation spending relative to grantmaking spending remained constant despite the economic downturn. However, there were clear differences based on reporting structure: – All respondents who perceived an increase in evaluation spending were in units reporting to CEOs or administrators. – Decreases in spending occurred most frequently in units reporting to program. This is notable if we consider the order of magnitude among the differences. 19

Evaluation Resources How is the Evaluation Function Staffed? Evaluation Unit Professional Staffing (in FTEs) Evaluation Resources How is the Evaluation Function Staffed? Evaluation Unit Professional Staffing (in FTEs) Foundation Size Mean Median Minimum Maximum Overall 3. 0 2. 0 0 14 Tier 1: Under $50 million 2. 1 2. 0 0. 8 4. 8 Tier 2: $50 to $200 million 2. 0 0 4. 0 Tier 3: Over $200 million 5. 0 3. 5 0 14 The smallest foundations (tier 1) have more evaluation staff relative to their size than those in the other tiers. Staffing within the largest foundations (tier 3), varies tremendously and is heavily skewed by two foundations each with 14 FTE staff, almost 3 times that of the mean. Overall, staffing has gone down since 2005 from and overall mean of 3. 9 FTEs and median of 3. 5 FTEs. 20

Evaluation Resources Number of Evaluation FTE Staff by Reporting Structure Mean Median Minimum Maximum Evaluation Resources Number of Evaluation FTE Staff by Reporting Structure Mean Median Minimum Maximum Total in FTEs 3. 0 2. 0 0 14. 0 CEO 3. 3 2. 0 0. 25 14. 0 Administrator 4. 0 2. 75 0. 75 14. 0 Program 1. 6 1. 3 0 4. 0 Reporting structure again greatly influences number of FTEs allocated to evaluation functions. – Those reporting to administrators have 2. 5 times the staff size of those reporting to program. – Those reporting to CEOs have over twice the staff of those reporting to program. These data are based on two years of spending for both evaluative information and the grants, FY 2007 and 2008. These data should be considered estimates as many foundations do not formally track this information. 21

Evaluation Resources Perceptions on the Level of Investment: Is It Appropriate? How would you Evaluation Resources Perceptions on the Level of Investment: Is It Appropriate? How would you assess the amount your foundation invests (both in terms of staff and funding) in each of…? Half of the respondents believe that their foundation invests an appropriate amount (in dollars and staff time) in program strategy, foundation strategy, performance metrics, and evaluation functions. Still sizeable percentages, 31 to 47%, believe too little (or far too little) is invested in these areas. Dissatisfaction was articulated most frequently regarding foundation investment in knowledge management and formal learning functions, where 67% say foundation investments were inadequate. Program strategy was the only area where a number of respondents felt that their foundation invested “far too much. ” “There is a lot of ya ya ya-ing out there on learning—but it doesn’t happen. ” 22

Evaluation Resources Dissatisfaction with the Level of Investment was Highest Among Those Reporting to Evaluation Resources Dissatisfaction with the Level of Investment was Highest Among Those Reporting to Program and Those in Mid-size Foundations How would you assess the amount your foundation invests in…? Percent of responses indicating a "less than appropriate amount " CEO Administrator Program Evaluation 25% 50% 75% Performance Metrics/Indicators 25% 40% 75% Knowledge Management 75% 50% 75% Formal Learning Functions 42% 70% 62% Program Strategy 27% 10% 62% Foundation Strategy 25% 30% 62% How would you assess the amount your foundation invests in…? Percent of responses indicating a "less than appropriate amount" Under $50 M-$200 M Above $200 M Evaluation 25% 55% 60% Performance Metrics/Indicators 37% 55% 40% Knowledge Management 62% 70% Formal learning Functions 50% 64% 43% 45% 38% 36% About 2 out of 3 (or higher) reporting to program believe that a less than appropriate amount is invested in all of these functions. A majority (or more) reporting to administrators are most concerned about the level of investment in evaluation, knowledge management and learning. 0% Foundation Strategy learning functions were of greatest concern across all reporting structures and across all size foundations. 60% Program Strategy Knowledge management and formal 30% The greatest weighting of dissatisfaction was expressed by those in foundations with over $50 million in grant making. 23

Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Evaluation Resources— Staffing and Budget Overall financial support appears to be Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Evaluation Resources— Staffing and Budget Overall financial support appears to be holding for evaluative activities. Staffing for evaluation, however, has dropped considerably since 2005. Knowledge management and learning were the areas of largest concern regarding the adequacy of foundation investment, across all size segments and reporting relationships. Those reporting to program expressed the greatest concern about the adequacy of investment made in strategy, evaluation, learning, knowledge management and indicators. Thought starters: – Are resources (across the organization) adequate to meet the knowledge challenge of strategic philanthropy? – How do you interpret the influence of reporting relationships on evaluative information investment decisions? 24

Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Benchmarking Evaluation in Foundations: 2009 Findings I. Evaluation Functions and Responsibilities II. Evaluation Resources: Staffing and Budget III. Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information 25

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Management Demand for Evaluative Information Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Management Demand for Evaluative Information Increased in Most Foundations Over the last five years, what is your perception of trends in management demand for the following: No decrease in demand was reported by any respondent. Respondents perceived large increases in demand for all types of evaluative activities. Most respondents perceived “dramatic increases” in demand for program performance metrics and strategy evaluations. Although overall demand for individual grant evaluations increased, it was not perceived to be as strong as that experienced for other forms of evaluative work. Differences by reporting structure: – Units that report to program experience much greater demand for individual grant evaluations, research to inform program strategy and program metric data. Units that report to CEOs experience greater demand for strategy evaluations and overall foundation assessments. – Our interviews revealed that increases in demand were largely driven by CEO or board interest. “We have a new president and (s)he’s driving the change here. Having the CEO focused on [evaluation] is critical. Before (s)he came in, it was hard to get program officers’ attention – I can’t overstate how vital that is. ” “The board is asking in a more explicit way what results are being achieved with our grantmaking and that is the reason for the increase. ” 26

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Most Respondents Believe Program Staff Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Most Respondents Believe Program Staff Use of Evaluation is at Least “Acceptable” How would you assess program staff’s use of evaluation to inform: Good Acceptable Poor Programmatic Development Work 23% 57% 20% Mid-course Decisions During Implementation 33% 33% Summative Performance Assessments 43% 36% 21% About 2/3 or more respondents report at least acceptable use of evaluation at all the different stages of program work. The most frequently cited problem area for evaluation use was how well it informs midcourse decision making. “We spend a lot of time and resources in developing strategies, but they can become like railroad tracks—once you get going, the mechanism for switching tracks on the basis of evaluative information is difficult. The ways in which strategies get realigned is still a work in progress. ” 27

How Much are Evaluation Findings Disseminated: An Early Indicator of Use What portion of How Much are Evaluation Findings Disseminated: An Early Indicator of Use What portion of your evaluations – either in full or summary form – do you estimate are shared with the following audiences: Percent reporting “large majority” or “all or almost all” Evaluation Unit Reports to: CEO Administrator Program Management 92% 40% 75% Board 58% 40% 38% Program Staff 92% 80% 87% Grantees 67% 60% 50% Broader Field 58% 20% 50% Reporting is a factor in how evaluation findings are shared. More respondents reporting to CEO’s share their evaluation results with every major audience listed than do those reporting to administrators or program. – This is even the case in sharing with grantees (17 point difference from program) and the broader field (8 point difference). – Fewer of those reporting to administrators share reports with the broader field. “Frankly, there is a lot of cherry picking going on [regarding sharing evaluation findings]. Access to findings is more managed here. Findings get shared, but warts and all? Not generally. ” “The CEO controls the message to the board and s/he errs on the side of less information. S/he would not [share] a full evaluation report that had any equivocation. ” 28

Comments on Issues of Use from Interviews “It gets to be more difficult when Comments on Issues of Use from Interviews “It gets to be more difficult when people feel that there is more at stake. … a program director is stepping down or if someone’s under threat, it’s very difficult to do healthy learning. ” “We have many meetings where a program director will pitch for an idea for funding, but there won’t be a question on how these grants build on prior experience or investments. There are no moments where people are asked to look back on what they’ve learned. ” “When I came to the Foundation I looked at all the evaluations that they did over the last 4 to 5 years and I could not tell the impact that those evaluations had on business. Partly, entire programs had changed. Partly, officers/ directors are no longer there, so there is no ownership of information as it comes back into the foundation—so it gets ignored. ” 29

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Most Respondents Also Believe Program Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Most Respondents Also Believe Program Use of Metrics is at Least Acceptable How would you assess program staff’s use of performance metrics to inform: Good Acceptable Poor Programmatic Development Work 17% 50% 33% Mid-course Decisions During Implementation 8% 67% 25% Summative Performance Assessments 22% 44% 35% Again, about 2/3 or more of respondents rated staff use of performance metrics as acceptable or higher. 30

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information There Were Surprisingly Few Differences Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information There Were Surprisingly Few Differences Between How Respondents Viewed Evaluation and Metrics in Terms of Use How important are the following potential uses of evaluation and performance metrics at your foundation? In considering these purposes, few respondents saw Percent report "very" or Performance "moderately" important Evaluation Metrics Provide information about implementation 97% 89% Sharpen focus or operationalize a goal or strategy 87% 78% Provide periodic information on program performance at regular intervals 83% 93% Provide information to make summative judgments 76% 64% Provide information about foundation progress at regular intervals 69% differences in the importance of use between evaluation and metrics. We were surprised by the relative lack of variation in responses. 82% Across the spectrum of uses cited, both evaluation and performance metrics were largely seen as “very” or “moderately important” tools. The largest spreads were: – Performance metrics were seen as less useful (by 12%) than evaluation in making summative judgments. – Evaluation was seen as less useful (by 13%) than performance metrics in providing information about foundation progress at regular intervals. 31

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents Raised Several Issues Regarding Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents Raised Several Issues Regarding the Use of Metrics in Our Interviews Evaluation vs. metrics: – “Executive leadership is looking less to evaluation and more to performance indicators without understanding the difference. ” Program vs. operational metrics: – “Each program can define their own metrics they want to measure. [Staff tend] to rely on what you would report to finance, which isn’t necessarily helpful as program impact indicators. The indicators we have now for the board work well except for assessing program performance. ” – “Interestingly, the first metrics out the door are more operational than program (e. g. , turnaround time of grants, volume, etc. ). ” Using appropriate metrics in complex systems: – “If we looked only at the [metrics] it was a failure. But if we looked at the dynamics of schools and community, you’d see what was happening that explained the initial drop. It took looking at the broader dynamics and beyond metrics alone. It took the program officer really reaching into the community to understand what was behind those metrics. ” When to identify metrics: – “Should we focus on metrics when we haven’t defined strategy yet? ” 32

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Management Support for Evaluation Was Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Management Support for Evaluation Was Seen as Strong; CEO Reports Experience the Most Consistent Support How well would you assess managerial support of evaluative information at your foundation? All Respondents About 2/3 of respondents report management support as being frequent or often. Respondents who report to the CEO were more likely to perceive strong managerial support. Only 25% of evaluation units reporting to program believe that management often or frequently addresses foundation problems identified in evaluations. By Reporting Structure Percent of Responses Indicating "Frequently" or "Often" Evaluation Unit Reports To: 33

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Board Support Reveals a Similar Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Board Support Reveals a Similar Pattern to Management Support How would you assess the board’s position on: All Respondents About half of the respondents report high support from their boards. Relatively few respondents feel limited or low support from their boards. Perceptions of board support tend to be lowest in evaluation units that report to program. Percent of Responses Indicating “High Support” By Reporting Structure Evaluation Unit Reports To: 34

Many Respondents Raised Four Organizational Cultural Factors as Impeding Good Learning at Their Foundation Many Respondents Raised Four Organizational Cultural Factors as Impeding Good Learning at Their Foundation To what extent are the following organizational culture factors an impediment to good learning at your foundation? The top four factors identified by over 20% of Not a Factor Sometimes Often Always Highly individualistic grantmaking 20% 53% 20% 7% Lack of attention to implementation 27% 50% 23% 0% Limited constructive feedback 37% 40% 20% 3% Limited thinking or reflecting with others 28% 52% 10% Isolation from others in the field 45% 41% 14% 0% Over-commitment when knowledge is limited and uncertainty is high 45% 41% 14% 0% Pressure to make larger grants 52% 34% 10% 3% Predisposition toward relatively untested grantmaking 33% 57% 7% 3% Unwillingness to make small exploratory grants 63% 3% respondents as “often” or “always” impeding good learning are: – Highly individualistic grantmaking – Limited thinking or reflecting with others – Lack of attention to implementation issues – Limited constructive feedback 0% These tendencies were cited as a factor “sometimes” in at least 63% of foundations. Relatively few respondents see isolation from the field, over commitment despite uncertainty, pressure to make larger grants or unwillingness to make small exploratory grants as impeding learning in their foundations. 35

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents Who Report to an Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents Who Report to an Administrator or Program Believe that Organizational Culture Factors More Frequently Impede Learning at Their Foundation To what extent are the following organizational culture factors an impediment to good learning at your foundation? Percent of Responses Indicating “always a factor” or “often a factor” By Reporting Structure Evaluation Unit Reports to: Percent of responses indicating "always a factor "often a factor" Respondents who report to the CEO were generally less likely than others to believe that these cultural factors inhibit learning. President Administrator Program Limited thinking or reflecting with others 18% 30% 12% Highly individualistic grantmaking 17% 30% 38% Over-commitment when knowledge is limited and uncertainty is high 17% 11% 12% Pressure to make large grants 9% 30% 0% Isolation from others in field 9% 20% 12% Limited constructive feedback 8% 40% 25% – Half cite a lack of attention to implementation as a Unwillingness to make small exploratory grants 8% 0% 0% – Highly individualistic grantmaking is another common Lack of attention to implementation 8% 20% 50% Predisposition toward relatively untested grantmaking approaches 0% 20% 12% Among those who report to administrators, about a third identify the following as factors that reduce institutional learning: – Limited thinking with others – Highly individualistic grantmaking – Pressure to make large grants – Limited constructive feedback Among those who report to program: factor that often impedes foundation learning. impediment to learning. 36

Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents from Larger Foundations are Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Respondents from Larger Foundations are More Likely to Believe that Culture Factors Impede Learning To what extent are the following organizational culture factors an impediment to good learning at your foundation? Percent of Responses Indicating “always a factor” or “often a factor” By Foundation Size Percent of responses indicating "always a factor "often a factor" Under $50 M to $200 M Above $200 M Limited constructive feedback 22% 18% 30% Unwillingness to make small exploratory grants 11% 0% 0% Limited thinking or reflecting with others 11% 27% 22% Predisposition toward relatively untested grantmaking approaches 0% 18% 10% Pressure to make large grants 0% 0% 40% Over-commitment when knowledge is limited and uncertainty is high 0% 10% 30% Lack of attention to implementation 0% 36% 30% Isolation from others in field 0% 9% 30% Highly individualistic grantmaking 0% 54% 20% Those working in foundations with grantmaking under $50 m report few organizational factors that impede learning. Among mid-size grantmaking institutions, more than half report highly individualistic grantmaking as a serious impediment to learning. A lack of attention to implementation was also cited as a factor inhibiting learning by about 1/3 of the foundations this tier. Those respondents from larger foundations saw a greater number of cultural factors as impeding good learning. 37

Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Demand is Summation/Questions/Points to Consider: Perceptions of Demand for and Use of Evaluative Information Demand is increasing for all evaluative services and products. Information use is seen as most problematic when programs and strategies are “ongoing. ” This is strongly supported by the qualitative interviews. For the most part, those reporting to program expressed greater dissatisfaction with program use of evaluative information. Program reports also felt their management and board were less supportive of evaluation than those reporting to the CEO or an administrator. Thought Starters: – Demand has increased yet staff size is down and spending remains steady. Are foundations able to do more with less? Is something being sacrificed? – We expected that reporting to program would result in greater evaluation use and more general “buy in, ” yet this seems not to be the case? How do you interpret this? – What are the other sources of evaluative information available to program staff outside of the evaluation unit? How are all sources integrated and made available to program and management? – How is program learning surfaced and facilitated? – Do/should performance metrics and evaluation serve different purposes and what are they? 38

In Sum: If Strategy Is Learned; How Well Are We Doing? “Strategy is learned; In Sum: If Strategy Is Learned; How Well Are We Doing? “Strategy is learned; not planned. ” Henry Mintzberg As foundations have increasingly engaged in strategic philanthropy, the evaluation function has evolved in a corresponding manner—with a greater focus on issues of strategy. Examples abound regarding highly valued theory of change work, serving to improve and clarify foundation intent, focus, feasibility etc. Yet, we also see areas where improvement is needed, particularly related to deep and ongoing learning necessary for strategy evolution. We believe that as important strategic actors, foundations need to have strong capacities and commitment to learn throughout strategy evolution. The question becomes: How can philanthropic organizations deepen their capacity to learn and adapt their strategies? This is not just an evaluation issue, but an organizational challenge requiring the commitment of evaluation, program and management. 39