Embedding Evaluation and Learning Into Organizations

Lessons Learned Evaluating an Environmental Think Tank/Advocacy Organization

Johanna Morariu, Innovation Network, Inc.

Engaging in evaluation and learning can help organizations navigate complexity. Environmentally mission driven organizations encounter complexity in many facets of their work: the interrelated systems (e.g., environmental, political, social) the work is situated in, long time horizons of environmental processes, and selecting and balancing strategies for maximum impact are just a few examples. An embedded organizational evaluation and learning approach will generate high quality information for decision making, provide evidence of progress toward goals, and strengthen strategy creation and adaptation. In 2010 a unique environmental organization—a hybrid organization that functions both like a think tank and an advocacy organization—set out to better clarify and communicate its work and goals. At the end of the process, the organization would have the tools for implementing organizational evaluation and learning: a theory of change and an organizational evaluation approach. The process began with data collection from documentation and (internal and external) stakeholder interviews, and relied exchange between evaluators and staff to iteratively refine approaches and tools. This presentation will share the process, methodology, literature review, approaches, and tools (theory of change, outcomes, indicators, data collection plan) developed for a hybrid environmental think tank-advocacy organization.

Cohorts, Control Sites, and Conservation Effectiveness: Navigating Complexity with Repeatability

Amielle DeWan, Rare Conservation

RARE is a unique conservation organization that trains local conservation leaders all over the world to change the way their communities relate to nature. Our signature method is called a “Pride campaign” – so named because it inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique. Pride campaigns are based in social marketing – the use of private sector marketing tactics to “sell” social change. The Pride approach has demonstrated effectiveness in changing knowledge, attitudes, and behavior change, although numerous previous campaigns were implemented across ecological, sociological, and economic systems. This complexity affects how we evaluate the effectiveness of our campaigns and the social changes we are seeing on the ground. In an effort to refine our understanding of just how effective and repeatable the Rare approach may be, we are reducing the complexity of campaign theme types by implementing a series of up to 100 campaigns in coral reef systems, targeting a particular threat, with the same solution, across 4 continents in 4 languages. This session will discuss the framework for designing the approach, preliminary results, and plans for the future.

Presentation Materials

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  1. 27 June 11, 9:05am

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