Evaluation Capacity Building in Organizations

Instructor: Leslie Fierro, PhD

Description: Evaluation capacity building (ECB) involves implementing one or more interventions to build individual and organizational capacities to engage in and sustain the act of evaluation – including, but not limited to, commissioning, planning, implementing, and using findings from evaluations. ECB has received increased levels of attention in the evaluation community over the past decade as funders of government and nonprofit institutions frequently request evaluations as part of the funding award. As a result, grantees are faced with questions about how they will perform this work – hire an external contractor, create a full or half-time position internally for an evaluator, etc.

Given this context, it perhaps is no surprise that when we think of ECB, we tend to think about training people on how to plan and implement evaluations. This is certainly very important. However, if what we want to do is effectively sustain high-quality evaluation practice in organizations and learn from the findings, it is critically important to also consider: (1) What capacities beyond individual knowledge and skill to do evaluation are needed to support a program’s ability to plan, conduct, learn from, and sustain evaluation and (2) Who needs to be the “target audience” for ECB activities in order to facilitate this support. Not everybody needs to be an evaluator to support high-quality evaluation practice and learning, but for those who aren’t going to be doing evaluation what do they need to know and why do they need to know it?

Participants will be introduced to the fundamentals of ECB; intended long-, mid-, and short-term outcomes of ECB interventions; a range of ECB interventions; and important considerations in measuring evaluation capacity in organizations. This course provides practitioners with an opportunity to consider what types of evaluation capacity they want to build within their organization and why. Participants will engage throughout the course in building a logic model of a potential ECB intervention for their organization with specific emphasis on what needs to change among whom in the organization.

Learning Objectives

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Define evaluation capacity building
  2. Articulate several intended outcomes of evaluation capacity building
  3. Identify at least two audiences who are important to engage as audiences for future ECB efforts to support high-quality evaluation practice and learning in their organization and explain why this is the case
  4. Describe several approaches to building evaluation capacity
  5. Explain several nuances involved in measuring evaluation capacity within organizations