Given the many variables that shape the outcome of an advocacy campaign or the trajectory of a particular policy reform, Beldon’s evaluations focused on the overall success of its strategies, not on the efficacy of individual grants or grantees. The board was content to have grantees build a coalition capable of exerting pressure on policy makers – even if the coalition won only half of what it was hoping for in any given campaign.
By necessity a qualitative survey, the portfolio evaluation was designed with 360-degree input from a wide range of stakeholders. Through the evaluations, Beldon was able to establish a set of performance benchmarks for success based on whether its programs were increasing the effectiveness of its grantees and drawing more resources to the field as a whole. The foundation recognized that policies are shaped by the alchemy of good organizing, sound ideas, clout, and factors that are beyond the control of advocates. Beldon’s strategy focused on strengthening the first three so groups would be well-positioned to take advantage of policy opportunities.
Here are the indictors the foundation developed to measure the impact of its portfolios:
Human Health and the Environment:
- Broadening the environmental movement’s base to include health professionals and health-affected groups.
- Engaging champions in governors’ offices and state legislatures, leading to concrete policy victories.
- Increasing public debate on grantees’ core issues.
- Increasing the power and clout of environmental advocates in these states.
- Grantees demonstrating ability to mobilize supporters.
- Grantees are working with non-traditional allies to build civic engagement.
- Engaging other funders to support Beldon grantees.
- Grantees diversifying income streams.
- Policy victories.
- Champions in public and private sectors.
- Coordination among grantees.
- Consistency of messages among grantees.