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How to Evaluate Capacity Building Efforts

This section can provide guidance to those who are both wondering how to evaluate capacity building activity and those seeking insights about what others examine when evaluating capacity building. Below we showcase reports that evaluate the capacity building activities in specific regions so that readers can understand how the evaluation of existing capacity building activities can impact the prioritization of future capacity building. Below you will also find reports that address how to evaluate capacity building and suggestions for specific tools nonprofits can use to evaluate their own capacity building needs, as well as to evaluate the outcomes of capacity building projects.

Before analyzing whether capacity building has been a success, it is important to recognize the distinction between capacity building and technical assistance:

When a nonprofit receives technical assistance, most often an outside specialist is hired to perform tasks that the nonprofits does not have the capacity to perform itself. When the technical assistance specialist leaves, the nonprofit still does not have the capacity to perform that function or accomplish the outcomes that the technical assistance enabled.

In contrast, when a capacity building project is completed, the nonprofit has gained the ability to achieve certain outcomes on its own, both now and into the future.

Evaluating Capacity Building Activities

How should we evaluate our advocacy activities?

In this helpful article,The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, the authors reinforce how challenging it can be to evaluate advocacy - unless you take a long term view. Incremental progress is key in measuring progress in the advocacy arena. Several recently released toolkits are now available to help charitable nonprofits (and those that fund advocacy) evaluate advocacy capacity, and advocacy progress. These guides suggests what to measure, how to collect data, and how to communicate the evaluation results to funders and others.

One tool that also includes helpful background is the free Continuous Planner Advocate Guide created by the Aspen Institute that includes ideas for monitoring benchmarks and indicators of progress in advocacy work, tips for tracking victories, and guidance on using a summary evaluation to present results in a meaningful way for stakeholders. Continuous Progress Advocate Guide.

Tools for Evaluating Advocacy Capacity and Progress

The Innovation Network has prepared a Practical Guide to Advocacy Evaluation for organizations that want to evaluate their advocacy activities, commissioned by The Atlantic Philanthropies. The guide suggests what to measure, how to collect data, and how to communicate the evaluation results to funders and others.

- See more at: http://www.councilofnonprofits.org/capacity-building-for-advocacy#sthash.FnFmnm3U.dpuf

The Innovation Network has prepared a Practical Guide to Advocacy Evaluation for organizations that want to evaluate their advocacy activities, commissioned by The Atlantic Philanthropies. The guide suggests what to measure, how to collect data, and how to communicate the evaluation results to funders and others.

- See more at: http://www.councilofnonprofits.org/capacity-building-for-advocacy#sthash.FnFmnm3U.dpuf

More resources on capacity building for advocacy.

More resources on self-assessment and evaluating outcomes.