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Not Always Movements: Suite of Tools

In recent years, we’ve noticed increasing use of the term ‘movement’ to describe a wide variety of social change efforts—often ones that don’t actually have the characteristics or aims of a movement. We have developed a suite of materials to help funders, evaluators, and other social change agents be crisper and more accurate in how they talk about and understand different approaches to advancing large-scale social change, and to avoid the harms that can arise...

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Exploring Field Building Concepts and Measurement

Inspired by similar types of efforts (for example, the Funder Evaluator Affinity Network ), ORS hosted a two-session virtual think tank in June 2021. We brought together 13 people from different roles, institutions, and disciplines to consider with us: how can we help social sector actors clearly articulate concepts and stimulate stronger/better measurement for field-focused approaches? While we knew work had been done to describe field-focused work and how it could be usefully measured,...

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Measuring Narrative Change: Webinar Recording & Resources

On September 15th, 2021, ORS Impact hosted a webinar to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges that animate narrative change measurement. With Neha Singh Gohil, Communications Officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we explored different facets of narratives by identifying relevant and meaningful outcomes, responding to dynamic contexts and learning as you go, and what this might mean for funders and others engaged in this type of work. This webinar highlights the findings...

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A long overdue update on our journey to advance equity

Four years ago, we set an intention around equity. We knew doing nothing was not an option and good intentions were not good enough. It had been a long time since we had posted about this work—too long—and we’ve been hard at work to advance racial equity within our company and through our work since that time. More recent events this year again led us to make a public statement and reaffirm our commitment to continue this work. We decided it was time for an update on what we’re actually doing, so here’s an update on our work over the past four years to live our commitment.

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Thinking Outside the Box: More Ideas for How to Make Evaluations More Useful for Foundation Strategy and Practice

Over the past year we’ve been working as part of an action team with the Funder & Evaluator Affinity Network (FEAN), thinking about how to strengthen the use of evaluation findings in philanthropic strategy. In a forthcoming brief, “Good Intentions Aren’t Enough: Making Evaluations More Useful for Foundation Strategy and Practice,” we suggest eight areas where focused action by external evaluators and foundation evaluation staff can help evaluation projects garner...

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New Report: Not Always Movements

In the brief, we compare and contrast the underlying assumptions, theories of change, and outcomes of three distinct social change approaches that are often conflated with movements: field building, network development, and promoting the uptake of practices by large numbers of organizations.

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Solidarity & Commitment to Action: Black Lives Matter and ORS Impact

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee.   These people are among the many who should be alive and well within their communities right now. Violence against Black communities is not new; it has been cultivated and enabled for centuries by the actions and inactions of White people. White supremacy, which is embedded in our culture and systems, favors Whiteness over the lives, well-being, and protection of Black people. We are not immune in the...

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Dispatch from Seattle

A message from our CEO, Sarah Stachowiak:   Hello, friends— What a crazy few weeks it has been. On March 2 nd we knew there were diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) in our county. On March 6 th we started working home for one week, out of an “abundance of caution.”  By March 14 th we knew we’d be working remotely through April 24 th – at least. While we continue advancing our work from home, we have reckoned with the fact that we...

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4 Recommendations for Evaluators Working on the Defense

Whether "maintaining a win," "killing a bill," or simply, "stopping bad stuff from happening," the field has long acknowledged  a unique aspect of advocacy: defense is as important as policy wins.   Yet, despite  acknowledging that defensive advocacy matters, th e development of defense-specific approaches has lagged behind other advocacy and policy change evaluation developments.  In our brief, “ When  the Best Offense is a Good Defense:...

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MLE Lab Check-In: Strengthening Organizational Practice

On April 30, we held a final virtual check-in with last year’s participants. As they shared their experiences over the past six months, we were reminded of the value of the tools shared during the retreat and the power of peer learning. Here are a few of the insights they shared.

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