Challenges of evaluating advocacy campaigns

April 7, 2010 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

For those interested in evaluating advocacy campaign, here is an interesting resource:

The Challenge of Assessing Policy and Advocacy Activities: Strategies for a Prospective Evaluation Approach (pdf)

The publication, from the California Endowment focuses on evaluating advocacy for policy changes from the perspective of foundations and NGOs. They also highlight some challenges to advocacy evaluation, including:

  • Complexity
  • Role of External Forces
  • Time Frame
  • Shifting Strategies and Milestones
  • Attribution
  • Limitations on Lobbying
  • Grantee Engagement

What they say about “attribution”, that is to what extent can we attribute the change seen in policy or other developments to an individual campaign, is very much my experience also:

“It is also important to note that most policy work involves multiple players often working in coalitions and, in fact, requires multiple players “hitting” numerous leverage points. In this complex system, it is difficult to sort out the distinct effect of any individual player or any single activity…Even when an evaluator has the luxury of interviewing all key stakeholders involved in a policy development, there’s rarely, if ever, clear agreement on why something turned out the way it did. That can be frustrating to funders who want to pinpoint their influence.”

Read more about these challenges in the publication (pdf)>>

Entry filed under: Campaign evaluation.

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