Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jessaca Spybrook

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Coryn

Third Advisor

Dr. Teresa Behrens

Abstract

Nonprofit organizations have received funding from grant-making organizations and foundations for many years. These funds have been used to support programs developed by the nonprofit organization. Over the years, two critical developments have occurred between grant-making organizations and nonprofit organizations related to evaluation and collaboration. First, grant-making organizations and nonprofit organizations are combining funds and resources to collaborate on projects. Second, program evaluation has become an essential piece of many grant-funded projects.

Historically, nonprofit organizations receiving funding from multiple sources were required to implement multiple monitoring and evaluation plans and write a report for each funder. These reports use staff time and grant resources. When multiple grant-making organizations fund the same program, one evaluation report could be developed to meet the needs of all funders, which would reduce reporting burdens.

In this study I investigate a consortium of funders, program staff, and evaluators who worked together to create common evaluation requirements. I adopt a case study methodology using observations, interviews, and document review to determine (a) the processes used to develop the common evaluation expectations, and (b) the organizational contextual factors which influenced the collaboration.

The findings suggest the essential components of the process whereby the group established the evaluation requirements include (a) regular discussion and a trusting relationship among partnering organizations, (b) the presence of an involved evaluator from the onset of the program, and (c) common understanding of evaluation. The findings also suggest the organizational contextual factors influencing the collaboration are buy-in from stakeholders, the staff leading the project, the mission statements of the organizations, leadership, the power dynamic, the responsiveness of the project to the community, funding, the timeline, and the diversity of the funders.

The findings suggest a successful evaluation collaboration requires a significant commitment from the partnering organizations in time, staffing, and funds. Additionally, the partnering organizations should confirm (a) the community and stakeholders are interested in the program, (b) adequate funding is available, and (c) an external evaluator joins the collaboration from the beginning. These findings can assist philanthropic and nonprofit organizations and evaluators in developing common evaluation requirements and reports for funder collaboratives.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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