Why Do We Need An Eval Lab?

By Bethan Kingsley, Evaluation Capacity Network

With the increasing push for evaluation in the nonprofit sector, organizations face the difficult task of incorporating evaluation into their day-to-day work with only minimal resources to do so.

With limited time, evaluation can become a peripheral part of service and program delivery – a check on the funding checklist – rather than a tool of significant value for making improvements in environments of complexity. In response to this struggle, concepts such as strategic learning have emerged as a way to integrate evaluative thinking into the work of nonprofits for improved learning and decision-making. But how does strategic learning work in practice, and can it provide a feasible and useful way of fostering learning in nonprofit organizations?

Eval Lab participants will explore strategic learning (and related concepts) within a flexible co-learning environment and test them in their day-to-day work.

Please note that this pilot run of the Eval Lab is limited to participants from non-profits who undertake human services work. The field of Human Services is broadly defined, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.