Measurement and evaluation issues were the focus of a dialogue held February 25, 2010 in Washington, DC, involving 40 representatives of intermediary grantmakers and some of their funders and other partners. Participants used a case study of an organizational capacity monitoring initiative undertaken by The Global Fund for Children as the springbroad for a broader discussion of how to evaluate the work of intermediary grantmakers and their grantee partners around the world.
- Focusing on what's important: Grantmaker impact in strengthening nonprofits. Participants discussed the crucial role of intermediary grantmakers in strengthening community nonprofits through funding and other forms of support. A priority for evaluation should be to develop ways to show that grantees are gaining in strength and sustainability, and to link those gains to specific forms of grantmaker support.
- Quantitative measure aren't enough: "No number without stories." While recognizing the value of a capacity-building metric to demonstrate the strengthening role of the intermediary, many participants in the Washington meeting noted a desire to go into more depth in other important areas of measurement through case studies and other forms of qualitative reporting.
- Beyond power politics: Evaluation as a tool for learning and improvement. There was agreement that grantmakers need to make every effort to ensure that assessments such as the GFC's Organizational Capacity Index tool are designed to help rather than punish organizations -- and that grantees understand the tools' potential as platforms for learning and improvement.