For the past several years, the Building Movement Project, the Alliance for Children and Families and the Ms. Foundation for Women have worked with their individual networks to promote civic engagement as a way to enhance services, create strong communities, and promote progressive social change. As a result of these efforts, many thousands of constituents across the nation are engaging with their communities in new ways and an increasing number of service providers continue to ask how to incorporate meaningful social change into their organizations.
However, one of the common concerns identified by providers is their ability to show the impact of this work. Social change activities are not easily quantifiable and it can be difficult to navigate and keep up with emerging evaluation methods. In many cases, not knowing how to demonstrate results of civic engagement and social change work has hindered service providers from adopting these activities and has prevented them from receiving funding for this work. The Building Movement Project, the Alliance and the Ms. Foundation, came together to draw on their collective experience with their networks and respond to this call for methods and tools for measuring the impact of social change work.
This report begins by examining how organizations currently view their relationship with impact measurement. It then presents a brief summary of the key findings that came out of the Civic Engagement Evaluation Summit convened by the partner organizations and ends with a set of recommendations for how to increase the nonprofit sector’s capacity to respond to the increasing need for tools to measure the impact of civic engagement and social change work.