Donors Forum focuses on evaluation
Donors Forum: the time has come to move beyond quantitative indicators of donor activities
A partnership of the largest charitable organisations in Russia – the Donors Forum – has announced its position on the development of a culture of evaluation in donor organisations. Scheduled for 22 October, the thirteenth annual conference of the Donor Forum will be devoted to the topic of evaluation.
According to a resolution of the UN General Assembly, 2015 is the International Year of Evaluation. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness of the importance of evaluation as a means of improving efficiency and to promote its use in organisations.
The Donors Forum is concentrating all of its activities in 2015 on the topic of evaluation. The conference, titled “The art of evaluation in charities: culture and practice”, will be the year’s key event. The conference will focus on how to improve the quality of particular services and enhance their social impact, how to measure the effectiveness of PR campaigns, how best to understand and satisfy the needs of those at whom a foundation’s activities are aimed; and how to use the results of evaluation.
Ahead of the conference the Donors Forum has published its position on the development of a culture of evaluation. As stated in the document, for donor organisations evaluation is a continuous process of obtaining new knowledge about projects and programmes being implemented, and an opportunity to improve charitable activities.
The non-profit partnership believes that donor organisations should use the form of evaluation which best meets their needs, enabling them to obtain the desired information in any given situation. Experts are certain that evaluation can strengthen trust in philanthropic institutions by helping the various stakeholders to learn about one another’s goals, values and results obtained.
The Donors Forum explains the reason behind the production of the document.
“We are convinced that in measuring the effectiveness and social impact of the work of donors it is time to go beyond counting the number of grants given and recipients supported. It is important to remember that the usefulness of evaluation is not limited solely to answering the question of how cost effective a particular donor-supported programme is. It can help to better understand and meet the needs of those at whom a foundation’s activities are directed, improve the quality of services provided, and enhance the social effect produced”, states the position.
The Donors Forum is also formulating main areas of focus for the development of a culture of evaluation in the donor community: the integration of evaluation into the activities of foundations and grant-making organisations, increasing the usefulness of evaluation, the practical application of its results, creating opportunities for increasing competence in evaluation, and compliance with and promotion of professional principles and standards.
“We are convinced that the development and strengthening of a culture of evaluation will lead not only to better outcomes of charitable activities, but will also encourage the exchange of experiences, the more productive use of lessons learned and the development of new ideas and strategies. We hope that all donor organisations working in Russia will join this initiative and pay particular attention to the development of a culture of evaluation both within their own organisations and in those organisations with which they collaborate” states the document.
Author: Yulia Vyatkina