A Look Back at ETB’s 2022 Funder CoP
Over the course of 2022, Expanding the Bench® (ETB) supported a community of practice (CoP) for Funders of Evaluation. This pilot CoP was convened to provide a space for Funders who were already committed to culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) and were interested in a peer learning space to discuss their ideas and challenges in applying CREE to their work.
In monthly meetings from June to December, Funders took turns presenting obstacles to CREE they were facing, positive strides made, and asked questions of their peers that led to discussions of specific approaches and solutions to implementing CREE. The topics covered included designing CREE-based requests for proposals with residents and participants in mind; practicing equitable evaluation from the start to the end of a project; reimagining CREE-based grant evaluation systems; maintaining support for CREE and similar practices in places focused on large-scale outcomes; pay inequities; and much more.
In addition to the CoP providing a sounding board for Funders, all participants were challenged to think critically about their own experiences in applying CREE and offer ideas and insights to further their colleagues’ work. Notably, Funders found commonality among themselves despite working at organizations of varying size, scope, and capacity.
Several participants mentioned that it was heartening to learn that others in similar positions were “grappling with similar challenges” and that “answering others’ challenges provides different perspectives on one’s own.”
Resources were also shared by CoP participants that helped further featured conversations and encouraged creative and new thinking — like this Intelligent Failure Assessment, this article about nonprofit program feedback, and information about collecting nonprofit data.
Overall, participating Funders mentioned that the CoP was a worthwhile investment of time and a great space to informally learn and share “because there is often pressure to perform in more formal spaces.”
Given the positive feedback about 2022’s pilot CoP, ETB is excited to debut the Funder CoP as a service included as part of ETB’s subscription or á la carte offerings in 2023. Sign-up for the second CoP group will begin next year. We hope to see you there!