Evaluation and philanthropy: Designing funder evaluations to support strategic wayfinding

Tue, 17 Sep 2024 01:30pm - 05:00pm AEST Melbourne, VIC

Philanthropy Evaluation Network presents at the Australian Evaluation Society (AES) 2024 International Evaluation Conference.

Workshop overview

This workshop will build intermediate level skills in designing evaluations that enable purposeful, strategic decision-making and action by funders. It assumes some general knowledge of measurement, evaluation, and learning and will build on this to design evaluation tailored for Australian funders.

At the end of the 3.5-hour workshop, participants will be able to:

  • craft a framework for a funder evaluation
  • determine how to gather data with a lens on improving funder practices and strategy
  • frame an evaluation report that can directly contribute to improved strategic outcomes.

In the first half of the session, the co-facilitators will be joined by two Australian funders to explore case studies of recent evaluations that were designed to move beyond compliance to contribute to organisational learning and change.  Rich, multi-directional discussions will be encouraged to engage with the nuance of what participants need to know, to understand how this could work for them.

In the second half, participants will work in small groups to design evaluations for their organisational contexts that yield findings that can inform organisational learning and strategic decision-making, fostering a shift from compliance-driven evaluations to those that actively inform program improvements and innovations.

By the end of the workshop, participants will have the skills and knowledge necessary to design evaluations that enhance the credibility of their programs and provide meaningful insights for partners, stakeholders, and their own organisational learning.

This workshop curates a dynamic range of skills, practice, and expertise from the Phil Eval network that will empower philanthropic funders through sharing knowledge, skills, connections, and resources to build their MEL capabilities and drive better philanthropy. It represents a unique opportunity for evaluators to advance the quality and impact of funders’ investments, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and learning within the Australian philanthropic and government funding sectors.

Alignment to learning competency framework

It aligns with AES Professional Learning Competency Framework Domains 1,3,4, 6 and 7.

Intended audience:

Evaluators ormeasurements, evaluation and learning (MEL) professionals in philanthropic funding organisations at the intermediate skill level

Workshop facilitators

George Argyrous – Head of Measurement, Evaluation, Research, and Learning at the Paul Ramsay Foundation

George Argyrous is has previously worked within the university sector, teaching and research, and also working with other organisations to improve their evidence-based decision-making. He has conducted many evaluations and has authored several high-level government evaluation frameworks in areas as broad as disaster recovery and countering violent extremism. He has a particular passion for capability building so that practitioners can become more critical users of evidence to inform their work.

Dr Liz Branigan – Manager, Philanthropy Evaluation Network Liz Branigan is an expert in facilitation & capability development, with 25+ years’ senior experience in adult education. She is the Manager of the Australian Philanthropic Evaluation Network; a collaborative network of funder evaluators who share insights, challenges, and solutions for effective and ethical evaluation, which is currently hosted by Philanthropy Australia. This is a national initiative to build the evaluation capacity and practice of diverse funders and philanthropic organizations across Australia. Liz works purposefully in ways that empower funders to evaluate their impact, sustainability, and alignment with their mission and values.