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When Collective Impact Has An Impact - An Evaluation of the Practice

Posted by Liz Weaver on April 11, 2018

In 2017, the Collective Impact Forum and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions commissioned ORS Impact and the Spark Policy Institute to conduct a field-wide evaluation of Collective Impact.  The evaluation sought to answer the following five questions: 

  1. To what extent and under what conditions does the Collective Impact approach contribute to systems and population changes?
  2. What system changes have contributed to the population level outcomes being achieved?
  3. What are the other positive or negative impacts, intended or unintended, on the community and system?
  4. What evidence is there that the Collective Impact effort has contributed to these system and population changes?
  5. What evidence is there that the population changes would not have been achieved if the Collective Impact approach hadn’t been used.


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How Do We Know We are Making a Difference in Our Neighbourhood Work?

Posted by Heather Keam on April 5, 2018

I was speaking with Howard Lawrence from Abundant Community Edmonton about their work around neighbourhood development and we got talking about making a difference in our community and how do we know if anyone is better off because of the changes/activities that have been implemented.  How do we measure change in our neighbourhood work?  Howard told me about a tool called the Sense of Community Index that is used in the social science area to determine sense of community. 

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Weaving Together Accountability and Learning in Complex Situations

Posted by Mark Cabaj on February 14, 2018

Michael Quinn Patton, evaluation expert, has argued that even the best intentioned, well-resourced evaluation processes can become, “the enemy of social innovation” if change-makers, evaluators and funders employ a traditional – rather than developmental – approach to assessment.  

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Principles-Focused Evaluation: Newest Approach for Evaluating Complex Change Efforts

Posted by Mark Cabaj on December 11, 2017

One of the toughest challenges for social innovators and evaluators is to describe the “it” they are trying to evaluate. While they typically have a general idea of the outcome they would like to see (e.g., an end to homelessness, addressing mental health issues, a feeling of inclusion), they often struggle to lay out the pathway(s) to get there. This makes it difficult for both parties to land on questions, indicators and/or methods around which to build an evaluation design. 

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Matching Evaluation Strategies to Community Rhythms

Posted by Andrew Taylor on October 6, 2016

Communities change when people work together, but working together means pulling people out of their comfort zones.  That is never easy.  Good community animators know that their approach has to be carefully calibrated to their context.  Strategies that are helpful in one circumstance may not work in another. That is one of the main insights I took away from the Harwood Institute Public Innovators Lab I attended last year.  

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Six tips for conducting meaningful evaluation in rural and remote communities

Posted by Alison Homer on September 22, 2016

In planning for the Evaluating Community Impact Community of Practice (Eval CoP), members participated in two summer working group sessions to highlight challenges they faced in their poverty-related evaluation work, and brainstormed topics, content and speakers that could address them. One area that members were greatly interested in learning more about was ‘How to conduct meaningful evaluation in rural settings’.

In response, we invited Dr. Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff, associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, to join our September call to share her experiences working on two studies: 'Housing First in Rural Canada' and 'Rural Alberta Homelessness', as well as to share her top tips to more effectively conduct evaluations in rural and remote communities.

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