“The group, which fights poverty by helping low-income young adults land entry-level professional jobs, first got serious about measuring its work nearly a decade ago. Though challenged at first to round up even basic information, the group over time began tracking virtually everything it could. … Now the nonprofit is diving deeper into its data to figure out which measures can predict whether a young person is likely to succeed in the program. And halfway through this review, it’s already identified and eliminated measures that it’s found matter little.” “Too Much Information,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, page 12, April 2016.
Why focus on evaluation?
Identifying programs that work and the factors contributing to their impact helps maximize impact—whether providing nutritious meals to more people, teaching more kids to read, or reducing impact on the environment. Evaluation defines the “success” of a program or organization; it gives the program provider proof that what they are doing is making a difference.
What are the eligibility requirements to apply?
To be eligible to submit an LOI, your organization must be a governmental entity, an educational institution, a religious institution, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has held tax-exempt status for five years or more as of the year you submit your LOI. Additionally, the program/project must serve northern Nevada.
If we haven’t evaluated our programs before, can we apply?
We do not expect LOIs to demonstrate complete mastery of evaluation concepts and activities. We are looking for organizations that are have already demonstrated a commitment to evaluating their programs, have board support for doing so, and are ready to commit resources to this effort.
Will you train us on how to do evaluation?
The Community Foundation is currently working with a team of experts on evaluation to run a workshop series focused on capacity building for evaluation. The Leadership In Evaluative Thinking Institute, or LETI, had a great first cycle and will run again in the Fall of 2017. Participation in the workshop series is not required to apply for this grant.
Is the money restricted to pay for evaluation of programs?
Yes, it is restricted for the purpose as defined in your proposal for evaluation efforts in your organization.
What activities are NOT eligible for funding?
Examples include: paying for operating activities such as staff training required to perform one’s job; staff time that does not benefit the evaluation of existing programs; technology (laptops, iPads); and memberships to a professional organization and/or annual fees. Individuals and projects outside Nevada are not eligible for funding.
Is this multi-year or single year funding?
This grant is available for single year funding only. However, since the Community Foundation has made evaluation our mission for the next 2 years, you are encouraged to reapply.
What will be award sizes?
The guidelines state applicants can request up to $15,000.
How important are other sources of funding in the project budget?
Other funding sources (grants from other foundations or private parties, matching grants, funding from the organization itself, etc.) can be very important to make your application stand out in a competitive grant process. Having other funding sources shows community support for your project. Funding contributed to the project from your own organization shows a commitment to the project from your board and staff.
Would it be helpful if we had match funding for program evaluation already? Can we use in-kind donations for match?
While match funding is helpful, it is not a requirement to receive the Partnership grant. In-kind donations can be a great way to show community support for your project. Donations that reduce the expenses of the project, but are not monetary gifts, are considered in-kind. Staff and board time does not count as in-kind because that time is already required for operations.
Should I include quotes from vendors or consultants?
Quotes from vendors are not required, but – when appropriate – can be helpful in the review process and will enhance any application.
When can I expect a funding decision?
The Partnership grants committee will meet in June 2017 to review LOIs. If your application is selected, you will be asked to submit a Request for Proposal. The committee will meet in September 2017 and decisions will be communicated shortly thereafter.
If my proposal is funded, when will funding be provided?
If your proposal is funded, funds will be disbursed in September 2017.