Curated by Beth Kanter

This is an interview with Jodi Nelson who is in charge of evaluation at the Gates Foundation.   

Her department works on:

1) Tools/Capacity to help program officers and partners design grants that have measurable outcomes

2) Evaluation policy to set common expectations and standards - when to do evaluation, what approaches to invest in, how much $

3) Facilitate learning from within and communicate to the outside world

4) Infrastructure to store, analyze, and contextualize evaluatoin data.

Mentions a guide published;  Guide to Actionable Measurement

"Measure strategically and to inform action—think of the question “What would you do differently if you have that data?”—actionable measurement privileges purpose over methodology or evaluation design. Purpose is about how you intend to use the information you gain from measurement to do something differently or effect some change."

Also reducing the reporting burden.

Great question:  What type of measurement helps the foundation continually improve?

Relationship measurement -- grantee perception report - getting feedback from grantees.   They have a dedicated team working on strengthening grantees realtionships.

Big learning for her:   Evaluation is more about organizational change than being a data cruncher. 

An organization can have great M&E people and expertise, as we do, but it won’t actually lead to anything unless there’s alignment up and down the organization around what enables success. Some examples include: leaders that continually ask their teams to define and plan toward measureable outcomes, consistent expectations for staff and partners about what constitutes credible evidence for decision making, executive leaders who understand and sponsor change that can be tough and take a long time, and tools and resources for staff and grantees to integrate rigorous planning and M&E into their day-to-day work.