Evaluating Social Change

6 August 2015

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
– William Bruce Cameron (and attributed to Albert Einstein)

Evaluating the effectiveness of social change – a complex and often long-term process – isn’t easy. In the framework of a larger effort to help social change organizations and foundations build their evaluation capacities, Shatil organized a study day called “Between Request and Result in Advancing Social Change – on Foundations, Advocacy Organizations and Evaluation.”

The gathering convened 90 nonprofit leaders, funders and evaluators to jointly learn about and share knowledge, insights, and tools developed in recent years to deal with the challenges of evaluation of policy change.

A keynote address by David Devlin-Foltz, Vice President for Impact Assessment at the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program, was followed by a panel focusing on the possibility of NGOs and foundations in Israel being more effective partners through the use of evaluation tools. The day ended with round tables in which NGOs and foundations explored the best practices of collaborating around effective evaluation.

“This workshop strengthened my belief that evaluation is first and foremost of vital interest to the organization itself – independent of funders’ demands,” said Adv. Michal Pinchuk, executive director of the NIF grantee ASSAF – Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel. “Evaluation is very important and one of the main challenges we face as organizations working towards policy and social change. A day like this is most important, helpful and welcome. This is a first step in the right direction, but there remains a need for more targeted training focused on practical tools and methodologies. Shatil plays an important role in training and bringing these tools and strategies to the field.”

The day was designed in partnership with a steering committee consisting of NGO leaders, foundation representative and evaluators: Ron Gerlitz, co-director of Sikkuy; Dr. Jenny Cohen; Batya Kallus of the Moriah Fund; Dr. Sarit Ben Simhon-Peleg of Yad Hanadiv; Shatil Committee Chair and NIF Vice President Itsik Danziger and Yuval Piurko of The Zofnat Institute.