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Making the Right Kind of Difference Evaluating Organizations for Taking Action.

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Presentation on theme: "Making the Right Kind of Difference Evaluating Organizations for Taking Action."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making the Right Kind of Difference Evaluating Organizations for Taking Action

2 Okay, okay… so what is this all about? Well, it’s a big World… with lots of complicated issues! So why not just raise some money and send it off in the mail? And so many people want to help! Sure that works for some. But we need ACTIVE problem solvers in the world… that’s where change happens!

3 There are many organizations that differ in how they… Engage problems Use Resources Arrive at solutions Hmmmm… Seems like all three are important! You better believe it!

4 So today you are going to learn a framework for evaluating organizations. This will give you the power to decide how you will Take Action!

5 Now Presenting… The Evaluation Framework… The BIG 5 1. What is the organization’s overall Goal or Mission Statement? 2. What kind of expertise does the organization have in the problem they are trying to solve? Ummm… this is a lot to think about. Why don’t we break it down one by one… 3. How are decisions made in the organization? 4. At what level does the organization engage the issue? 5. Is the organization sustainable? Will the projects last over time?

6 1. Evaluating an organization’s mission. An organization’s goals, often listed in a Mission Statement, gives you a window on what they care about. You should determine if you care about the same things. Does their mission sound right to you? Go with your gut. Here’s a tip! Many organizations have their mission statement written in the ABOUT US section of their website.

7 2. Analyzing an organization’s expertise. What level of research is behind the organization’s analysis of the problem they are trying to solve? Come on buddy, we know about that! That’s the SCIENTIFIC METHOD! Do other groups respect the organization as an authority on the problem? Some organizations challenge the way we normally think about a problem, and come up with innovative approaches. Is this the type of organization you are looking at? Its important that an organization is not making assumptions! You want to make sure they are well informed, and using research that: -asks questions -forms hypotheses -tests hypotheses and makes observations -analyzes results

8 3. Assessing how organizations make decisions. Who is on the Board of Directors, and how are they qualified to make important decisions? Some organizations work with local communities. Decisions they make could really effect many people. Always consider who is impacted by the organizations’ actions, and see if those people have a voice! How are local communities included in the decisions? How big is the staff at the organization? Do the people who work directly with an issue have a voice in decisions?

9 4. Checking where an organization engages the issues. “Grassroots” Developed at the local level Often developed by a community in response to a problem Sometimes connected to movement for change “Top-Down” Usually large organizations Often well-funded Sometimes affiliated with the government, university, or established institutions Lots of people are attracted to “Grassroots” organizations. But it really depends on how you want to Take Action. Grassroots usually have meaningful, direct connection with the issue, but top-down organizations typically reach a much larger population. Te best choice depends on the type of problem, and your own preference!

10 5. Evaluating organization sustainability. Funding: Does the organization require a lot of $$$ to operate? Where do they receive funds? Often money comes from foundations, private donors, research grants, fundraising events, and government partnership. Involvement: Is the organization empowering local people to solve problems with a goal of long-term independence? What kind of solutions are coming from the organization? Do they require long-term commitment? Long-term funding? Does the organization plan on increasing its involvement? For Example! A solution to clean water issues in rural India could be that we raise money and buy everyone bottled water. But is that sustainable? NO! It’s a quick fix, and doesn’t uplift the people involved to solve their own problems. What happens when the money for water runs out? Plus all those bottles means waste… and more problems!

11 That was a lot of information! Lets recap the important points…

12 There are so many groups doing good work! The organization’s goals should match with your own. Make sure that organization solutions come from expertise and not assumptions. Evaluating organizations is important for finding how your Take Action project can be the most effective. Who has a voice in understanding problems and creating solutions? Is a grassroots or top down organization right for your cause? The solutions and funding of your organization should be sustainable. Find the right fit for your passion.

13 Where Can I Find Information? The organization’s web site –About page –Newsletter –Annual Report has financial info – or call them, but respect their time Search their name on Google News Look for the judgment of people and organizations you respect. Who is funding them? Who is volunteering for them?

14 Outside Perspectives on Non-Profit Organizations: International Organizations: org US Organizations:

15 Four Examples to Think About What Questions Would You Ask?

16 Children’s Town Zambia The effect of HIV/AIDS on families in Zambia has been devastating. More than 1 million children are estimated to be orphans. Children’s Town provides a supportive environment and education to former street children and orphans from the major towns and cities in Zambia. It is also a community school for local disadvantaged children.

17 Guided by an experienced and loving staff, the children receive schooling, training in important topics such as health, and participate in the operation of their community, including tending a fifty-hectare vegetable garden and a herd of goats that produce food for the Children's Town and generate income for its operation. Total cost for one child per year in the program is $430. School supplies and books for one child for one year is $30.

18 Afghan Institute of Learning Afghanistan & Pakistan The Afghan Institute of Learning is committed to improving the health and education of Afghan women and children after three decades of war and civil strife, and enhancing the quality of their lives. It began in 1995 by setting up schools in refugee camps in Pakistan and in people’s houses during a time that girls were not allowed to attend school in Afghanistan.

19 Programs Offered at the Afghan Institute of Learning Teacher Training Preschools Gawhar Shad University, where women can get degrees in teaching, nursing, math and computer science AIL’s programs benefit 350,000 people. It is run by women and employs about 450 Afghans, over 70% of whom are women.

20 Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) Walnut Creek, Ca. ARF saves dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others lives. ARF strives to create a world where every dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care.

21 Services: Matches homeless animals with people for permanent adoption. Trains teens and preteens in animal care Brings animals to elementary schools, nursing homes, and other facilities so people can learn about and enjoy animals. Offers dog training to help create pets people can live with happily.

22 Rare Conservation Headquarters in Virginia, works Worldwide Rare specializes in social marketing – a method for changing attitudes and behaviors that has been successfully applied to issues like seatbelt use and smoking. Rare has created a model called a “Pride” campaign, that inspires people to take pride in natural assets and take action to protect them. Rare applies this approach in 40 countries around the world to encourage people to protect endangered animals and biodiversity. It has trained 120 local leaders in the developing world, and influenced 6.8 million people living in 2,400 remote communities.

23 An example is the Pride campaign in the Derawan Islands of Indonesia, where green sea turtles and other marine creatures were threatened by destructive fishing techniques such as using dynamite to catch larger quantities of fish. Rare wanted to help local people understand that this environmental damage threatened their food supply and quality of life. The Pride campaign used colorful posters, a green sea turtle mascot, cooking competitions, trips for kids in glass bottomed boats to learn about marine life, and billboards near fishing piers. Ministers talked about conservation in their sermons. At the end, about 90% of the community was aware that their local area was a Marine Protected Area, an impressive improvement from the initial 18.75%.

24 POWER This is where you have the POWER to take action. (But don’t forget to have fun!) Want to learn more about getting involved?


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