Key Points

Foundations investing in community systems change often fail to prioritize field-level and cross-initiative evaluation questions in building initiatives. As a result, many of the documented evaluations of such investments lack translatable lessons specific and influential enough to drive related decisions and actions of others in the field.

This article developed from ongoing, multiyear peer learning across several foundations that collectively compiled recommendations for community systems-change funders and evaluators to implement more powerful evaluations. They are intended to help funders and evaluators engaged in these efforts build sectorwide knowledge capable of informing improved work across initiatives and communities. This article also prioritizes the inclusion of community in the entire process of field-knowledge creation and use.

As the managers and advisers responsible for evaluating funder-led community systems change, we have struggled to ensure that our evaluations are capable of providing useful knowledge to future efforts. For that reason, this article focuses on strategies to address the gaps we see and with the intention that important lessons are captured, analyzed, shared, and used by others.

Open Access