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 cultures of learning. Building a strong culture of learning takes skill, effort, and time. Below are a set of resources we developed to help grantmakers and nonprofits who are looking to develop relationships that are focused on learning.
We’ve worked with grantmakers and nonprofits in Canada and the U.S. to help them better understand the journey from learning to action and how they can centre learning in their relationships with their funder/grantee. Below are a set of resources we’ve developed as part of this work. Have questions? We’re happy to chat.
New report: Approaches to Learning Amid Crises: Reflections from Philanthropy
In interviews with seven foundations from Canada and the U.S. in the summer and fall of 2020, we applied the lens of organizational learning to how each of these foundations 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. In our report: Approaches to Learning Amid Crises: Reflections from Philanthropy, we lift up examples of how foundations have reacted and specifically what and how they are learning.
An in-depth guide that 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.
A training tool to help staff better understand the importance of organizational learning and how to engage externally with others in a learning-focused way.
This Question Bank offers a variety of questions to start a dialogue with grant applicants or recipients on learning culture and goals.
Lastly, we’ve also compiled some additional resources related to this project from external sources that may also be of interest to organizations looking to learn more about learning cultures and organizational learning.
This works builds on TNCs past work with the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) to develop a Sector Driven Evaluation Strategy. In particular, the following resource might also be of interest:
A lot of evaluations involve more than one stakeholder group (like funders and grantees, board and staff, evaluators, etc.). When two or more of these groups get together to talk about evaluation, they often spend more time talking about the technical process and less time on why they want to do evaluation and what they hope they will learn. 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.
- 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.