Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Monitor Institute, a part of Deloitte Consulting, conducted a study to understand a better future for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) in philanthropy.
• The study found three defining pillars to achieve a better future: Decision-making at the center of MEL, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and catalyzing learning at scale. What are some challenges for funders to advance these ideas?
• Read about how to support dynamic learning in philanthropy.
Take a minute to consider where you think monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) in philanthropy will be in 10 years.
It is possible that the future will be a continuation of what we see today. There is increasing demand for monitoring and evaluation, but effectively integrating results into decision-making remains a challenge. While there has been a flowering of new data methods, tools, and analytics, funders and grantees struggle with the complex landscape and limited resources. And despite a growing number of funders seeking to incorporate the voices of those they aim to help into their evaluation activities, MEL too often benefits foundations more than it does their grantees or the communities they serve.
But one can also imagine a more positive future for MEL, where continuous learning becomes a core management tool; where foundations, as commentator Van Jones once put it, “stop giving grants and start funding experiments”; where foundations and grantees share data, learning, and knowledge openly and widely; and where constituent feedback about what is needed and what success looks like is central to strategy development and review.
What will it take to move MEL from the future we expect to the future we hope to see?
That’s what Monitor Institute, a part of Deloitte Consulting, has set out to answer with our year-long, multi-funder initiative to “re-imagine measurement.”
Through our interviews and research, we have identified three defining pillars of a better future for MEL:
- Putting decision-making at the center of the MEL system
- Empowering constituents and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in choice-making processes
- Catalyzing learning at scale
Read the full article about impact measurement by Rhonda Evans, Gabriel Kasper, & Tony Siesfeld at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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