Innoweave recently realized that some of our systems may not be contributing to a healthy evaluation environment for our grantees, and we’d like to make some adaptations to address this.
While taking part in a workshop led by InWithForward, we explored the role ethnographic evaluation tools can play in helping community sector organizations learn from their clients and improve the impact of their services. InWithForward is a leading national expert and practitioner in this field. Content was shared that outlined how this highly beneficial technique is often overlooked or not prioritized over the more traditional forms of evaluation that organizations feel their funders want (whether the funders realize this or not).
When it comes to driving impact, outcomes, learning, and improvements in the community sector, it has become increasingly clear that funders have a critical role to play. But many actors in the funding environment—both grantmakers and grantees alike—have created systems that may inadvertently entrench stagnation and repetition over innovation and growth.
Given that many of the evaluation efforts taking place in the community sector are driven by the needs of funders, as grantmakers, we have a huge opportunity to shift how our grantees evaluate the work we support. Indeed, many funders and community sector organizations are already leading the way and doing this with great success.