Small Foundations: Learning Through Evaluation

September 10, 2014 | 1:00 – 2:30 pm ET

How do small foundations – with few or no staff – learn how to engage with stakeholders, facilitate meaningful conversations and develop real-time learning about effective grantmaking?  Developmental evaluation may hold the key.

Developmental evaluation is a hot topic in the field of philanthropy and innovation. It combines the critical thinking of evaluation with the practices of organizational development. Yet, most examples present developmental evaluation as a tool for big funders, big spenders (on consultants!), and big efforts.  The good news is that foundations with limited resources can still apply this approach.

In this session, we will aim to: understand the key components of developmental evaluation from a small-staff perspective; identify the key skills necessary for a foundation with limited resources to apply developmental evaluation techniques; and consider opportunities for improved learning and increased impact (facilitating understanding, communication, and learning) at your own foundation.

This session will explore questions such as:

  • What are the key components of developmental evaluation and when might they be most useful?
  • What skills might a foundation leader need and/or want to learn in order to apply these techniques more effectively?

PFC is offering this session in collaboration with Sara Beggs from Exponent Philanthropy, formerly known as the Association of Small Foundations, and John Bare, a member of the Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta.

Please note that for NON-MEMBERS only, there is a cost of $50 to participate. Exponent Philanthropy members are welcome to register as PFC members (at no cost.)


Sara Beggs is a Senior Program Director at Exponent Philanthropy (formerly the Association of Small Foundations), an organization empowering philanthropists to leverage their resources and amplify their impact. Currently, she focuses her energy on helping members make the greatest difference possible through the Getting to Impact series. Sara also works closely with boards using ASF’s board self-assessment survey, ultimately helping boards to identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and potential next steps for becoming more effective.


John Bare is vice president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta. John joined the Blank Family Foundation in 2004 and created the Foundation’s Speaker Series initiative. John directs the Foundation’s social advocacy efforts and directs the giving programs associated with the Blank Family of Businesses.