Giving Compass’ Take:
• The authors discuss how funders and policymakers decide how to create higher standards for quality evidence, and what the process for evaluating evidence will look like with new expectations.
• Why is it important for donors to set higher standards for evidence-based practices?
• Read more about the urgent need for evidence-based policymaking.
Social purpose organizations need better ways to determine the quality of the evidence they use for making decisions. They need the strongest possible evidence they can find to plan effective action, demonstrate the value of their activities to funders and stakeholders, and influence public policy.
Yet funders, policy makers, and managers face competing definitions of what constitutes quality evidence. And while using evidence of any kind to make decisions is better than using no evidence, existing definitions may cause leaders to overlook valuable information that would improve their chances of making truly effective decisions.
Many in the field are calling for higher standards for evidence, or “stronger evidence.”
However, these kinds of evaluations are time and labor intensive. Many organizations don’t have the expertise or funding needed for detailed analysis of every study. More important, for most practical purposes, social sector leaders need more than long lists of individual studies. They want a clear, scientific way to see where their evidence is strong (supporting high confidence in decisions) and where they need more information before committing scarce resources.
Leaders need to understand the inter-connected causes and effects of the complex social problems they face.
With this method, you can more easily see where you have enough evidence to make a successful decision and where you might need more research—and how to focus that research to get the most bang for your research buck.
Read the full article about compelling evidence by Bernadette Wright & Steven E. Wallis at Stanford Social Innovation Review
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy.
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