Международный год оценки
THE POSITION OF RUSSIAN DONORS FORUM ON DEVELOPMENT OF EVALUATION CULTURE WITHIN DONORS COMMUNITY
The UN General Assembly declared 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation. Joint efforts, undertaken this year at international, regional, national, and local levels help to promote the practice of evaluation and emphasize the importance of developing its potential. Sharing in the efforts of the international community to enhance the potential development of evaluation programs, the Donors Forum—an independent union of Russian and international philanthropists founded in 2002—decided to join the current initiative, choosing “The Development of the Culture of Evaluation within Donor Organizations” as a key theme for this year.
Aware of the fact that every organization determines the role of evaluation within its work in its own way, we believe that the evaluation is a systematic process of collecting and analyzing information about outcomes of implemented initiatives and utilizing the knowledge for continuous program improvements.
Recognizing the diversity of evaluation types, including evaluation within program planning phases (needs and baseline assessments), their implementation (process evaluation), and the completed program (outcome evaluation, cost-effectiveness, and social impact assessment), we believe that donor organizations should use evaluation that most appropriately fits their needs and allows for the receipt of the most useful information possible in each and every specific situation. We believe that evaluation has a great potential for fostering public trust in philanthropic institutions and helping the various stakeholders to learn about each other’s goals, values, and achieved outcomes.
The culture of evaluation, representing a set of values and relationships which support a systematic reinforcing process of self-examination, learning and improvement is a main area for focusing joint efforts of the donors community in the course of the Year of Evaluation.
The Russian Donors Forum is working with the theme of evaluation for a number of years, discussing its various aspects, mastering new mechanisms, and exchanging best practices. However, in an increasingly complex operating environment the role of evaluation has to be strengthened. Transition from simple to multi-faceted philanthropic programs requires new and robust approaches to analyzing the outcomes of our philanthropic initiatives and to enable us to make right choices based on the best available evidences. We believe the time has come to move beyond simply counting the quantity of issued grants and supported projects and beneficiaries. Today donors need to strengthen their capacity for collecting credible performance information on achieved results and produced social impact. Evaluation can help us understand the needs of those who we planning to support, it provides us with information while identifying the best possible approaches for doing our work, raising the quality of services provided and enhancing the producible social effect. Additionally, when the high expectations exist for respectful relationships among donors, partners, government, and beneficiaries evaluation brings serious potential for improving the public’s trust, offering new approaches for broadcasting information, and creating a clear and objective presentation about the ways foundations benefit society and the role they play in solving social problems.
In promoting a culture of evaluation within the sphere of donor organizations, the Donors Forum will focus its efforts on the following:
– Integrating evaluations into the activities of donor and philanthropic organizations.
Donor organizations will seek for the evaluation to become an integral and natural part of their work. Every foundation and company engaged in philanthropic activity will direct their efforts to the development and maintenance of their own evaluation system specific to their nature that would enable them to make continues improvements. They will strive to promote this approach among grantees and partners by supporting their evaluation practices.
– Increasing the utilization of evaluations and the practice of using their results.
Evaluation has value only when it is recognized and used for making decisions. The measure of donors’ community success in promoting evaluation culture should not be predicted on the number of evaluations done, or stored within a database. Thus, donor organizations will seek for evaluation findings to inform their strategies, program design and resource allocation decisions. They will promote this practice and encourage all stakeholders to make maximum possible use of evolution efforts.
– Creating possibilities for growth in competency in the area of evaluation.
Staff working in donor organizations will seek to acquire and deepen their knowledge and skills to be sufficiently competent at solving any problems arising in the process of planning and carrying out evaluations, while donor organizations will provide opportunities for this in stages, and plan to sufficiently cover these costs within the annual budgeting of the organizations’ resources.
– Promoting and complying with professional principles and standards
Whether evaluations are performed by external experts or conducted with organizations’ own internal resources, donor organizations believe it is necessary that they have the guidance of established professional standards and principles, especially regarding transparency in the evaluation process, for the protection of their members and out of respect for organizations’ integrity.
Aware of the fact that the culture of evaluation should be in line with the broader culture of an organization, we will strive to engage in this process all key stakeholders in philanthropic activities including founders, board members, grantees and partners.
We believe that the development and strengthening of evaluation the culture will lead not only to improving the results of philanthropic activities, but also to stimulating an exchange of experiences, increasing the productiveness of applying lessons learned, and helping to develop new ideas and strategies.
We sincerely hope that all donor organizations working in Russia will join us in this initiative and devote special attention to the development of the culture of evaluation within their organizations, as well as within the organizations with which they collaborate.