How do you build an organizational culture of learning?

Organizations that are impactful aren’t necessarily the ones that gather the most evaluation data or use the most sophisticated methodologies. They are the ones that are good at translating their evaluation findings into insight and action. In other words, they have strong organizational learning cultures. At the same time, we recognize that building a strong culture of learning takes skill, effort, and time.

We’ve worked with grantmakers and nonprofits in Canada and the U.S. to help them better understand their journey from learning to action and how they can centre learning in their relationships with their funder/grantee. Check out some of our resources and research below.

Have questions? We’re happy to chat.


Developing Your Learning and Evaluation Plan Workbook

This workbook includes worksheets designed to draw out and clarify the learning goals associated with a proposed project after funding has been awarded, but before turning to the measurement and implementation plans.

Complete Workbook | Worksheet 1 | Worksheet 2 | Worksheet 3 | Worksheet 4 | Worksheet 5

Self-Assessment Tool

An 18-question self-assessment tool meant to help organizations identify and assess the state of learning in their organization. A starting point for discussion that can help identify areas of strength as well as areas for improvement.

Aussi disponible en français

Discussion Guide

If you are meeting with another stakeholder group that sees evaluation a bit differently that you do, this guide may be a good way to learn more about each other’s perspective and identify ways to make the evaluation less frustrating and more useful for everyone.

Originally designed for the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN).

Question Bank

This Question Bank offers a variety of questions to start a dialogue with grant applicants or recipients on learning culture and goals.

Learning Relationship Principles: How-To Guide

This training tool offers grantmakers a practical way to develop a learning relationship with grantees beginning at the grant application stage through tips and activities grounded in six principles.


Approaches to Learning Amid Crises: Reflections from Philanthropy

In our report: Approaches to Learning Amid Crises: Reflections from Philanthropy, we share examples of how seven foundations from Canada and the U.S. made sense of their reality, asked different kinds of questions to inform their thinking, and acted in new or different ways as a result of the twin crises of COVID-19 and the fight for racial justice.

How to develop funder/grantee learning relationships

This in-depth guide explores strategies that grantmakers can use to lay the groundwork for meaningful evaluation. It defines the term learning culture and identifies key elements of learning organizations. Developed with the support of the Ontario Nonprofit Network.

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