Updated: June 26.
Over the past several weeks, I've had the privilege of having many conversations with our applicants and grantees about our funding priorities and criteria. We've discussed challenges that nonprofit organizations face, in particular in the Utah and Salt Lake Counties where many of our grantees operate.
One of the major challenges that organizations have discussed with me in relation to our grantmaking criteria is creating and maintaining capacity for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and conveying the rigor of thought behind program design.
Because this is a legitimate and pervasive challenge among local organizations and because it remains a strong priority of the Noorda Foundation, I feel compelled to address it. Over the next several weeks, I will be posting a sort of FAQ series related to impact and M&E called Quantifying and Increasing Impact.
It is my hope that organizations will comment on these posts (constructive criticism is very welcome), take them into their board meetings to have deep strategy discussions, and change their program design and evaluation practices for the better. I firmly believe that if local, Utah-based nonprofit organizations will do this, they will increase their social impact and lengthen their funding arms, becoming more attractive to local donors (including the Noorda Foundation!), and also more competitive among funders outside of Utah.
During this series, I will discuss the following topics. We encourage readers to explore and share any great resources they find discussing these topics as well.
Start With Great Program Design
Ensure Fidelity to the Researched Model
Internal M&E Basics
Guiding Principles for External M&E
Using Data to Inform Practice and Improve Impact