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.
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.
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).
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.
- Read our article for PEAK Grantmaking’s Journal (Issue 20): Learning Cultures Are Built on Trust. October 2022.
- Read our blog post for the Johnson Center for Philanthropy: Practical Tools to Help Grantmakers Put Learning First. April 2022.
- Read our AEA365 blog post: What if funders asked new grantees about their learning plans instead of their evaluation frameworks? February 2022.
- Read our joint blog post with the Center for Evaluation Innovation: Who Shapes the Evaluation and Learning Ecosystem? Organizational Culture and Trust-Based Philanthropy. April 2021.
- Read our joint blog post with the Center for Evaluation Innovation: What it takes to learn during crises: Reflections. March 2021.
- Read our joint blog post with the Center for Evaluation Innovation: Can Foundations Radically Transform How They Learn? August 2020.
- Read our article for The Philanthropist: Moving from Evidence to Action: Tackling the Sector’s Thorniest Issues By Rethinking our Relationships with Data. March 2020.
- View our Building the Capacity to Learn workshop slides from the 2019 American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference alongside our friends at the Center for Evaluation Innovation. November 2019.
- Listen to this episode of GlassFrog’s podcast featuring our work: Building a Learning Culture with Andrew Taylor and Ben Liadsky. November 2019.
- Read our AEA365 blog post: New tools to help foster grantmaker-grantee shared learning. August 2019.
- Read our blog post for the Johnson Center for Philanthropy: Learning Together: Five Tips for Building Relationships That Lead to Learning (Named one of their top 10 blogs of 2019). July 2019.
- Read our AEA365 blog post: Achieving Greater Impact By Starting with Learning. November 2018.
- Read our AEA365 blog post: Building a Better Nonprofit Evaluation Ecosystem – 7 Recommendations for Cultivating Evaluations that Work. August 2017.