Impact Assessment and Learning (IA&L) is the processes we use to measure our progress and impact in meeting our goals. We collect a variety of quantitative and qualitative information through different methods including pre-grant due diligence, grant monitoring, grantee site visits, grantee-funder convenings, targeted research, evaluation, community listening sessions, and grantee perception surveys. We regularly synthesize and reflect on the information we gather to inform decisions about our work and consider adjustments that will enhance our impact.
Through IA&L, we seek to improve our work, augment our impact, and share knowledge with our colleagues and the field in three key ways:
Guide our strategy and grantmaking
Support us in being accountable and transparent
Enhance our field impact
We believe that the Foundation’s approach to IA&L should be timely, practical, and dynamic to reflect the different needs, opportunities, and priorities of our work. The following principles guide our IA&L efforts in our approach and in our partnerships:
We are clear about the purpose and audiencefor the specific IA&L activity.
We cultivate a learning culture that supports innovation, experimentation, reflection, flexibility, and adaptation.
We use multiple data collection methods and gather information from diverse perspectives (e.g., grantees, beneficiaries, other key stakeholders). This allows us to learn about our own work, the relevant work of others, and the broader context that influences our impact.
We prioritize gathering information that helps identify when adjustments need to be made in real time. This includes seeking to understand not only what’s happening, but why — the factors that are facilitating or impeding progress.
We share what we learn with others, including grantees, partners, the field, and beneficiaries.
We collaborate with our grantees and other partners to design and implement IA&L efforts that are reflective of the needs and priorities of grantees and the field, level or balance the funder-grantee power dynamic to create strong and candid relationships, and increase our individual and collective capacity to gather and use data in the process.
We make every effort to ensure that our grantee ask is appropriate given the amount and type of resources we provide and the usefulness of the information to be collected.
We seek to avoid processes that are burdensome for staff, grantees, and beneficiaries. Where possible, we build on existing efforts and streamline efforts.
We developed our Impact Assessment and Learning Framework to ensure that Irvine staff and board are clear about our approach to impact assessment and learning. This includes 1) how we are holding ourselves accountable to assess our progress and impact against our portfolio goals and outcomes, and 2) how we learn and apply that learning to inform decisions about our strategy on an ongoing basis.Download Our Framework