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Policy Evaluation

These resources include step-by-step information, tools, and sample questions for evaluating policy work.

 

The Challenge of Assessing Policy and Advocacy Activities: Strategies for a Prospective Evaluation Approach

The California Endowment and Blueprint Research & Design, Inc.

Recommends an evaluation strategy for prospectively evaluating policy change activities: 1) Develop a conceptual model for the policy process, 2) Develop a theory of change, 3) Define benchmarks and indicators, and 4) Collect data on benchmarks.

Audience: The document is geared towards policy grant projects but is applicable to all policy projects.

 

The Challenge of Assessing Policy and Advocacy Activities: PART II—Moving from Theory to Practice

The California Endowment and Blueprint Research & Design, Inc.

Compilation of feedback from a meeting to discuss Part I of the report and generate ideas on how to implement it.

Audience: The document is geared towards policy grant projects but is applicable to all policy projects.

 

Continuous Progress Online Toolkit

The Aspen Institute

Provides a step-by-step guide for planning policy change activities and conducting evaluations before, during, and after.

Audience: Organizations involved in policy work.

 

Evaluating Philanthropic Support of Public Policy Advocacy: A Resource for Funders

Northern California Grantmakers

Provides case studies of different approaches to evaluating policy work, analyzes the potential strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches, and raises questions to be considered when designing an evaluation.

Audience: The guide is geared towards funders. However, the evaluation approach and lessons learned may be helpful to those developing their own policy evaluation plan.

 

A Guide to Measuring Advocacy and Policy

Annie E. Casey Foundation and Organizational Research Services

Describes the landscape and context for evaluation of policy work and offers guidance about specific evaluation approaches that are relevant to the policy arena. The approach breaks down into three steps: 1) Start with a theory of change, 2) Identify outcome categories, and 3) Select a practical and strategic approach to measurement. The document provides a menu of broad outcomes (e.g., shift in social norms) as well as examples of outcomes (e.g., changes in awareness) and the strategies associated with the broad outcomes (e.g., media activities), and unit of analysis (e.g., population groups).

Audience: The primary audience is foundation officers and other grant-making organizations, but it also applies to organizations engaged in policy work.

 

A Handbook of Data Collection Tools: Companion to A Guide to Measuring Advocacy and Policy

Annie E. Casey Foundation and Organizational Research Services

Companion to “A Guide to Measuring Advocacy and Policy.” Provides examples of tools and processes for collecting useful information from policy efforts. Provides data collection options for broad outcome areas including: Shifts in Social Norms, Strengthened Organizational Capacity, Strengthened Alliances, Strengthened Base of Support, Improved Policies, and Changes in Impact.

Audience: The primary audience is foundation officers and other grant-making organizations, but it also applies to organizations engaged in policy work.

 

Policy Evaluation Framework

Center TRT

Includes a policy evaluation framework with a sample logic model, sample evaluation plan, and tips for developing a logic model and evaluation plan. Also includes sample evaluation questions for formative evaluation, process evaluation, and outcome evaluation as well as suggestions for data collection.

Audience: Specifically geared towards policies targeting environmental and behavioral obesity-related outcomes, but could be adapted to other policy topics.

 

Practical Policy Evaluation Webinar

Center TRT

Provides an overview of the evaluation framework, a case-study presentation of the application of the framework, and a Q & A session.

Audience: Specifically geared towards policies targeting environmental and behavioral obesity-related outcomes, but could be adapted to other policy topics.

 

A User’s Guide to Advocacy Evaluation Planning

Harvard Family Research Project

The tool has four steps to complete in sequence: focusing, mapping, prioritizing, and designing. Focusing involves understanding who the evaluation’s users are and how they will use the evaluation, as well as what evaluation questions they want answered; mapping involves developing a visual map of the strategy being evaluated (logic model); prioritizing involves prioritizing what to evaluate and how; and designing involves deciding what data points will be captured and how. Includes a planning worksheet.

Audience: Organizations involved in policy work, evaluators, funders, or other stakeholders.