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The State of Evaluation Project

 

Nonprofits hear a lot of talk about evaluation these days—metrics and measurements, indicators and impact, efficiency and effectiveness. Everyone seems to want evaluation results—from nonprofit staff themselves to donors to board members. But there’s a gap in the conversation: What are nonprofits really doing to evaluate their work? How are they using evaluation results? Do nonprofit staff have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to carry out effective evaluation?

We’re answering these questions—and many others—in our State of Evaluation project. The State of Evaluation project is the first nationwide project that systematically and repeatedly collects data from nonprofits about their evaluation practices. To our knowledge, the project is the largest, most comprehensive inquiry into nonprofit evaluation practices and capacities to date. It builds on many years of study and research conducted by our colleagues in the field.

We published the first research in 2010 and followed up with a second report in 2012. But we’re not finished. We are committed to this ongoing research project based on survey responses from a nationwide sample of nonprofit organizations—just like yours.

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State of Evaluation 2012

 

It’s here! It’s really here! State of Evaluation 2012 is available for your reading pleasure! The newest report in this project has a wealth of updated nonprofit evaluation capacity and practice findings, including:

  • 90% of organizations report evaluating their work (up from 85% in 2010)
  • 100% (!) of organizations reported using and communicating their evaluation findings
  • Budgeting for evaluation is still low—more than 70% of organizations are spending less than 5% of organizational budgets on evaluation
  • On average, evaluation—and its close relation, research—continue to be the lowest priorities (compared to fundraising, financial management, communications, etc.)

Want to learn more? Delve into the report! Download State of Evaluation 2012: Evaluation Practice and Capacity in the Nonprofit Sector (2.6MB .pdf).

 

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State of Evaluation 2010

 

Thanks to the hundreds of nonprofit staff who took the survey in 2010, we now have a clearer picture of what evaluation looks like in the ever-expanding nonprofit community! Survey results have been used to build understanding:

  • For nonprofits, to see how their evaluation practices compare to their peers.
  • For donors and funders, to better understand how they can support evaluation practice throughout the sector.
  • For evaluators, to have more context for the existing evaluation practices and capacities of their nonprofit clients.

Want to learn more? Download State of Evaluation 2010: Nonprofit Evaluation Practice and Capacity (2.6MB .pdf)

 

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Who's talking about State of Evaluation?

 

Presentations, blog posts, and other commentary about the State of Evaluation project include:

 

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Related Research

 

There are several research projects about the state of nonprofit evaluation practices and capacity. Related reports include:

 

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Learn More

 

Let's connect! Share your insights with @Innonet_Eval on Twitter and use the #SOE2012 hashtag.

If you are interested in learning more about our research into nonprofit evaluation practice and capacity building, please contact Johanna Morariu, Director, by email at jmorariu [at] innonet [dot] org or by phone (202-728-0727 x103).

Looking for something else? Check out our other research and publications.

 

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