For funders planning to evaluate or review their strategies, a wide range of resources on program evaluation and assessment can provide guidance on methodology, data use, and analysis. And yet, the available literature on how to structure foundation-wide strategic review processes can be a black hole. Without existing structures in place, kicking off a strategy review can be a real challenge.
The way that funders structure these strategy review processes — how they examine the effectiveness of their strategies, revisit the fundamental assumptions and approaches of their work, and make funding decisions — affects their direction, impact, external relationships, and even internal culture. Given this, the lack of information on structuring a strategy review poses challenges for funders trying to plan for this process as intentionally and effectively as possible.
This was the challenge the William Penn Foundation encountered when trying to proactively design their next strategic review process. Hungry to make evidence-based decisions and seeking to learn from their peers, the Foundation commissioned CEP to fill this gap in research and best practices. And so last year, CEP interviewed 20 foundation presidents, data and evaluation directors, program directors, and other staff from 13 funders similar to the William Penn Foundation in asset and giving size, programmatic areas, regional focus, and/or family board governance.
We’ve written up our findings in a new publication, just released today.
Read the full article about foundation-wide strategy reviews by Mena Boyadzhiev and Alina Tomeh at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.