This action research project seeks to support progressive social change organisations to evaluate the impacts and outcomes of their efforts.
Compared to other sectors and types of organisation, NGOs working toward social and environmental justice commit fewer resources to evaluating their programs and campaigns. Our research and networking suggests that few progressive NGOs apply evaluation frameworks. Why? Lack of time, limited access to appropriate tools and frameworks and the highly ambiguous and irrational nature of the policy-making process.
In recent times a small but growing number of organisations, especially philanthropic bodies that fund advocacy work, have begun to explore frameworks for evaluating advocacy. So we kicked off an action research project to
- Collect and synthesise resources and literature on campaign evaluation, including case studies
- Identify evaluation frameworks that are simple, powerful and road-tested
- Trial and revise resources
- Develop and share a suite of resources for participatory workshops that support activists to evaluate their own campaigns
In mid-2007, two members of our team initiated the advocacy evaluation project. Justin completed a review of literature on advocacy evaluation which was shared internationally and published as a Comm-org working paper. [You’ll find it among resources tagged ‘advocacy evaluation’ in our Campaigners’ Toolkit.]
We helped develop an evaluation framework for Climate Camp 2008. The online questionnaire was completed by 90 activists who’d taken part in the week-long protest camp. The evaluation showed up some important outcomes including a strong match between hoped-for and actual outcomes, a significant increase in the likelihood that participants will participate in direct action as a result of their experiences in Newcastle and very strong support for another national climate change convergence.
More recently, we’ve trialled a range of evaluation tools with campaigning organisations. Several NGOs engaged tCA to either lead post-campaign evaluations or facilitate pre-campaign workshops to develop evaluation frameworks.
If your organisation is developing and applying evaluation tools in your campaigns, we’d love to hear from you.
online evaluation resources
Justin Whelan (2006). Extracts from ‘Work Justice’, a case study of the campaign by Uniting Justice to influence Industrial Relations legislation in Australia.
Much like the discipline of evaluation itself, the evaluation function in philanthropy with staff assigned to evaluation-related responsibilities is a fairly recent phenomenon…