What you need to know about tiered-evidence grantmaking
- A grantmaking approach that uses a tiered-evidence design to focus funding on programs backed by rigorous evidence of effectiveness while investing some funds in new and innovative approaches.
- Grants include funding for evaluation, so grantees gain new evidence about their approaches and, hopefully, move up tiers over time.
- In 2016, six tiered-evidence grants are used by four federal agencies with total funding of almost $800 million—a threefold increase since 2010.
Interested in learning more about Impact Philanthropy? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Impact Philanthropy.
Traditional grants rarely help grantees build rigorous evidence about their approach or evaluate their program to determine whether its goals are being achieved.
What are tiered-evidence grants?
Billions of dollars in grants flow from the federal government to states, localities, and nonprofits each year. Tiered-evidence grants can help make federal grantmaking more evidence- and data-focused. They operate, in a way, like a venture capital fund: investors (public agencies, in this case) place bigger bets on approaches with more evidence of success and use smaller bets to encourage new and innovative approaches. This approach is called staged funding.
Creating tiers requires defining what constitutes preliminary, moderate, or strong evidence. Together, these definitions form an evidence framework and establish the evidence standards projects must meet to receive funding. The best way to develop an evidence framework is to use an existing one as a model. Today, both the Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Home Visiting programs are examples of well-defined models. Agencies should consult with their internal research or evaluation arms to see whether a program has an existing framework they can build on and should also consider frameworks used by other agencies operating similar programs. Moreover, a partnership with an agency’s own research and evaluation arm can be important to the successful implementation of the grant program and credible reviews of evidence.
Read the full article on tiered-evidence programs by Andrew Feldman and Ron Haskins at Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaborative
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are interested in Funding, please see these relevant events, training, conferences or volunteering opportunities the Giving Compass team recommends.
Are you ready to give?
If you are interested in Funding, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.