San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Third Sector New England (TSNE), Tech Networks of Boston (TNB), and TNB Labs (TNBL) are pleased to invite nonprofit professionals to a Super Roundtable, which will have an extended format and bring back Prentice Zinn of GMA Foundations and Amanda Sutter of YMCA of the North Shore as featured guests, in response to popular demand. The setting will be the second floor West Room at the Boston NonProfit Center, and the topic will be evaluation frameworks for complex nonprofit outcomes.
The doors will open at 8:00 am, and a complimentary breakfast will be served. This will give all participants an opportunity for professional networking before the program begins.
Here’s what Amanda and Prentice say about this session:
The goal of this workshop is to empower nonprofit staff as change agents through use of evaluation and learning. Evaluation is often seen as a primarily technical skillset that plays the primary role of supplying the organization with data. We posit that data and measurement should be more about learning, strategy, and improvement. Without this mindset, organizational cultures can subvert monitoring and evaluation practices that promote healthy learning and innovation, often leading to metrics fetishism, unrealistic expectations about what and how much should be measured, and excessive data collection. Addressing these sort of organizational challenges can be difficult for the evaluator, data analyst, or even program staff “accidental evaluator” who wants the data to be meaningful for real change but is often left out of these strategic conversations.
The aim of the workshop is to provide tools for evaluators of all kinds to be able to influence organizational decision-making about how evaluation is done in their complex environments. Beyond technical guidance of what data to collect, this will be a deeper discussion about the culture and management problems related to evaluation. Through interactive activities, we will target 3 organizational evaluation challenges: resource allocation, evaluation approach, and stakeholder engagement. The hope is that this workshop will leave participants with tangible action steps to take right away, as well as the inspiration that in changing organizational behaviors, you can be a leader for change. Because in the end, this shift in mindset to broaden the role of evaluation and center it in the organization’s work is absolutely necessary for organizations to achieve the impact they seek to make in our communities.
Through small group exercises and discussion, you will:
- Identify the tensions of how monitoring and evaluation is prioritized and resources allocated within your organization and the nonprofit field.
- Consider new approaches to evaluating complex interventions.
- Explore alternatives for how your organization engages all your relevant stakeholders to gather information and create change.
- Build comfort with the “pains and gains” of how well evaluation is integrated in your own organization, as well as how to be strategic in navigating this complex environment to advance evaluation’s role in organizational learning and strategy.
- Create a plan for action for your organization and how you can be a champion of change.
Our workshop learning objectives addressed four organizational challenges related to monitoring and evaluation:
- Make learning a priority in your organization
- Promote more thinking about systems and complexity
- Expand the ways you evaluate and measure your work
- Tailor how you engage different audiences both in communication and real involvement in evaluation
Here's a bit more about Prentice:
Prentice Zinn joined GMA in 1999 and became a director in 2007. He serves as an administrator for the Conservation, Food & Health Foundation, the Sociological Initiatives Foundation, the A.C. Ratshesky Foundation, the Miller Foundation and the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust. The scope of his assignments includes start-up work with new donors, helping foundations rethink their mission and focus, and identifying high impact funding opportunities in the fields of the environment, public health, and human services. A Latin American studies graduate of the University of Michigan, Prentice also has Masters degrees from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Boston University School of Public Health.
Here's a bit more about Amanda:
1) This will be a professional development opportunity for nonprofit professionals who want to learn with and from their peers in other organizations.
2) This session is for employees of nonprofit organizations. It is not designed to meet the needs of vendors, volunteers, students, consultants, job-seekers, and others.
3) Priority in registration will be given to those who are employed by nonprofit organizations that hold full membership in the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
4) Participation in this session is free of charge for nonprofit professionals. However, you must have a confirmed reservation in order to attend.
5) If this session is booked to capacity by the time you seek to register for it, please go ahead and put yourself on the waiting list. We have a good track record of finding seats for nonprofit professionals on the waiting list.
We hope that you can join us for a vigorous and informative conversation, in which you will be welcome to share your knowledge and experience with your peers.
Best regards from Deborah
Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Chief Strategic Officer
TNB Labs, LLC
P.O. Box 2073
Framingham, MA 01703
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Deborah Elizabeth Finn, Tech Networks of Boston
Tech Networks of Boston helps mission-based organizations in Greater Boston enhance their effective use of information technology. Our services include IT strategic planning and assessment services, IT services management, project management, data integration, software development, web design, systems engineering, training, deskside support, and 24/7 support services including end-user support, remote server monitoring and emergency onsite service.
In addition to providing IT Services, Tech Networks of Boston engages with nonprofits in the Boston area. Our initiatives include our Roundtable events and our IT Community of Practice. These groups provide nonprofit professionals and consultants with networking and professional development opportunities.
TNB is also a leader in service to the community. We contribute financially and through hands-on work. Our partnerships include talent development with the Shriver Job Corps, protecting our climate with the Climate Action Business Association, and promoting nonprofit fundraisers through our Boston Charity Events newsletter and website. Participating generously and responsibly in our local, business, client and world communities are a core value of TNB.
Tech Networks of Boston is a Massachusetts Benefit corporation and a Certified B Corporation, underlining our commitment to serving triple bottom line values of "People, Planet, and Profit". Our mission is to enable organizations to use innovative and effective tools to serve human needs.