Home > Archive > Evidence-Based Practice and Collective Community Benefit – by Deborah Loesch Griffin

As promised I’m attaching and describing two resources (note: the series of questions can be used to create a vision for the community relevant to this working group AND they can be used to create vision for the capacity-building efforts as well):

 Creating the Future’s approach to creating a ‘Vision” of what’s possible for collective community benefit;

  1. What might be possible if we were 100% successful in creating social change? What would it look like and feel like? Describe our highest potential as a collective of organizations working to benefit our community.
  2. What is the highest potential for our community when we are all committed and working collaboratively?
  3. What will that make possible? (when people suggest ideas that are not at the 20000 foot level then they are getting down to conditions or actions.  When that happens, we continue to ask, “what will that make possible?”
  4. What are the favorable conditions that we can create or that would naturally emerge if we were reaching or our highest potential?  What conditions need to be in place to reach our highest potential? THis is the question we ask to learn what we need to intentionally create or encourage (programs/services/relationships/supports/opportunities, etc). that will insure our highest potential can be achieved;  this is also, from my perspective, another way of allowing a “theory of change” to emerge to guide the work of the group.
  1. An Action Learning Framework for designing a Leadership for Social Change Capacity-Building Institute with results and outcomes as a priority focus.  There are other resources that also include the cycle of action learning, such as “Communities of Practice” or “Learning Circles” that define structures for learning and practicing and reflecting on skills, regardless of content.  I’ve been involved in all three of these and derivations of them and they are highly effective in changing thought and behavior and for skill-building.  Action learning is a learning and problem-solving strategy for organizations and groups working together to respond to challenges, improve practice and make an impact on a shared area of value and priority—in this case—increasing the learning, practice and use of evaluation and evidence-building to impact community change (based on the vision they create together in #1 above).

Hand-Outs for 1:

  • A powerpoint slide that illustrates how we must be clear about our vision (the why) before we steep ourselves in the weeds of planning and activities–so we truly know where we’re going and what to evaluate.
  • An article from Hildi Gottlieb that provides another perspective on sustainability–beyond finances–and breaks open thinking about the value of community benefit or community-driven approaches.
  • A worksheet on reverse engineering that is useful when working through a situation and trying to gain an understanding of what we think we need and what else might be supported when we shift our thinking towards what’s possible vs. problems. Questions above are partially derived from this worksheet and are at the heart of the Creating the Future approach.

Hand-Outs for 2:

  • What is Evidence Building powerpoint slide I’ve used with organizational staff in developing communities to learn the various sources and ways that data can be collected formally and informally and interpreted through the context of their environment–both macro and micro.
  • What is Action Learning? Again, I used this model in my work with staff of national offices in developing communities and previously as a model for youth service and learning (service-learning, which is a form of action learning with a conscious contribution made to community as a product or process of the learning experience).






5/9/14 Planning the EBP Institute

Today’s meeting finds us firmly on our way to planning the Institute. We agreed that should be our focus for the coming meetings; in the process, we will examine other local resources so we understand what is available to us in our community—as well as in the national community so we don’t have to reinvent any wheels.

We came up with this list of what we want from the Institute (keep in mind that that list may change as we learn more):

  • Measure outcomes
  • Use existing database or create new as needed
  • Lift up value of EBP/measurement/outcomes
  • Build nonprofit capacity
  • Understand need for EBP/measurement/outcomes
  • Foster collaboration
  • Change community culture
  • Compare ourselves to national

We chose this as homework for all involved:

We created a Parking Lot for future items, which include:

  • Assets and Opportunities scorecard
  • Funding inventory in the community
  • Evaluation continuum
  • Group intent to funders about adopting EBP

We began to define EBP/Measurement:

  • Describe programs all the way to outcomes
  • Use results to improve programs
  • Count what actually means something
  • Do what has been proven
  • Stick to fidelity of the model
  • Know the questions we are answering
  • Know the problem we are trying to solve

Next week we’ll have a presentation from Social Entrepreneurs on how to begin developing the Institute: May 16, 8-9:30 a.m. at United Way.

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