Great article on valuing evaluation in public philanthropic foundations! Thank you PhiLab for posting this blog, authored by ACPNS researchers, Dr Alexandra Williamson and Kylie Kingston.
This article offers insight into how evaluation is understood by senior leaders of public philanthropic foundations, providing findings that may assist philanthropic leaders in enhancing their organisational practices into the future.
From the 28 interviews conducted with managers and trustees of Public Ancillary Funds, four main themes emerged in how evaluation is understood by philanthropic leaders in their motivations, values, criteria and processes.
Performance measurement, evaluation and accountability in public philanthropic foundations
Philanthropic foundations routinely evaluate and measure the performance of nonprofit organisations to which they distribute funds, as well as the programmes that are funded. Another aspect of philanthropic foundations’ evaluation processes, which receives comparatively little attention within academic or practitioner literature, concerns evaluations of grant applications. While the focus of philanthropic evaluation literature is mainly on ‘how evaluation is done’, the focus of this article is on ‘how evaluation is understood’. This article details perspectives from interviews with 28 managers and trustees of Public Ancillary Funds as part of a wider study on the accountability of foundations. These public foundations must fundraise from the public, and donations to them are deductible against the taxable income of the donor, resulting in a significant element of accountability to the public for their effectiveness and evaluation of the distribution of their funds. Four main themes emerged through the exploration of how evaluation is understood from the perspective of these senior foundation leaders: motivations, values, criteria and processes of evaluation. Read more