Spring 2016 Newsletter

Spring 2016 Newsletter


The Evaluation 2016 conference will take place October 24-29, 2016 in Atlanta, GA with the theme of “Evaluation + Design.”

“Everything we evaluate is designed. Every evaluation we conduct is designed. Every report, graph, or figure we present is designed. In our profession, design and evaluation are woven together to support the same purpose—making the world a better place. This is the inspiration for the 2016 theme: Evaluation + Design. In 2016, we will be diving into this concept looking specifically at three areas—program design, evaluation design, and information design - AEA President, John Gargani.

More information about the theme can be found here.

Do you have a great idea for a session topic?

We encourage you to submit your session abstracts on the AEA Proposal Submission Portal.  We will consider abstracts that span a broad range of topics, but here are some ideas to get you started:

●       Examine evaluation models that were effective in specific nonprofit program settings

●       Describe successful strategies that captured and/or set the course for your nonprofit or foundation’s impact on a particularly challenging/entrenched issue within a community or within society more broadly

●       Illustrate exceptional experiences in evaluation from your foundation’s strategies and impact

●       Provide concrete evaluation strategies, tips and tricks for practitioners working in nonprofits

●       Present and/or collaboratively refine an evaluation tool that has been developed or used by your nonprofit organization or foundation

●       Share a skill and develop the evaluation capacity of nonprofit and foundation professionals

●       Analyze lessons learned and best practices from diverse evaluation initiatives

●       Generate new ideas related to emerging themes in evaluation practice for nonprofits and foundations

Please note that while proposals do not have to address the theme,  AEA review criteria assesses relevance to the conference theme, so making that connection will reflect positively in scores by reviewers.

In advance of submitting, please be sure to carefully review the descriptions of each presentation type and choose the appropriate one for each of your sessions. Whenever possible, please also identify specific individuals who are willing to serve as chairs / discussants for your session(s) and include their names as part of your submission. Please note that this year, all people on a submission are required to have an account with AEA, even if just a guest account. Be sure all collaborators on your submission have an account before beginning the submission process. The proposal submission deadline is 11:59 PM ET March 15, 2016.

We need your help with the proposal review process!

Are you inclined to contribute to the conference from behind the scenes?  We have opportunities for you too!  We are seeking NPFTIG members to to review 5-7 abstracts to ensure that our sessions are valuable, relevant, and compelling for our members.  Abstract review by volunteers will take place around April. We will reconfirm your interest in serving as a reviewer a week or two before proposal reviews begin to ensure you are still available. If you are submitting a proposal yourself, you can indicate on your submission form that you would like to be a reviewer. If you are not submitting a proposal, you can still review--we’d love to hear from you (our contact information is below)!  

Each TIG has the opportunity to structure their review process in the way they see fit. Last year, the NPFTIG sought volunteer reviewers from our membership through this same newsletter solicitation. From the list, we randomly selected enough volunteers so that each proposal was reviewed twice. Each proposal was scored according to standard criteria provided by AEA. Scores from the volunteer reviewers were then averaged to get the final score, which determined whether or not the proposal was accepted. As always, we are open to suggestions from our membership on ways to improve the review process, and look forward to receiving any comments you have.

Please feel free to contact Molly (mollymhamm@gmail.com) and Katelyn (Katelyn.Mack@fsg.org) if you have questions, suggestions, or need further information. If you’d like to volunteer as a reviewer, please send us a message by March 18th indicating your interest clearly in the subject line.


In January, we ran elections for the open leadership position of program co-chair. Once again, many thanks to Claire Sterling for serving in that role for the past three years. We are happy to announce that Katelyn Mack will be joining us as a program co-chair. Many thanks to all who voted--we had an exciting candidate pool. We appreciate all of those who stepped up to run for the election--it is a testament to our members’ commitment to the field! We also welcomed Karen Jackson as business co-chair in the fall. Many thanks to Kathryn Hill for her work last year in that role.

Their introductions to the NPFTIG membership are below:

Katelyn Mack is an Associate Director in FSG’s San Francisco office. Katelyn serves the strategy, evaluation, and learning needs of a broad range of foundation and nonprofit clients by designing and implementing evaluation studies, and collaboratively building capacity to engage in strategic learning. Particular areas of passion are health, equity, and community change. In addition, Katelyn serves on the Board of PathLight international, an education-focused nonprofit operating in Belize. She has a Master’s degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

Dr. Karen Jackson, is the Principal Evaluation Consultant with Katalyst Innovative Consulting Services. Karen’s evaluation expertise includes the use of empowerment evaluation, program evaluation, and developmental evaluation methodologies. In her work with non-profit organizations and educational institutions she encourages her clients to be participants in the evaluation process when possible. Services she has experience providing include program and organization design/redesign, development, implementation, management, and evaluation. Specific components of the evaluative process that Karen has both planned and engaged in include qualitative and quantitative research methodology development and analysis; theory of change, logic modeling, and strategic planning. Clients Karen has worked with previously include Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, Young Non-profit Professionals Network, IMHOTEP Science Academy @ The Science House North Carolina State University, Greensboro North Carolina Police Department, and GEM – NSF Project @ University of Washington. Karen is a preferred evaluator for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Research, Evaluation, and Learning (REAL) Unit. Dr. Jackson's education includes B.S. Chemistry and M.Ed. Mathematics, Curriculum and Instruction both from The University of Southern Mississippi and Ph.D. Educational Research and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University.


We will once again be hosting a NPFTIG-sponsored week on AEA365, currently planned for the week of October 9th. In the coming months, the leadership team will determine a theme and solicit short pieces from our members. Be on the lookout for upcoming announcements if you would like to contribute.


We welcome questions and comments. Our contact information is below:


Laura Beals

Jewish Family and Children's Service

Boston, MA USA

Tel: 781-693-5612



Karen Jackson

Katalyst Innovative Consulting Services

Durham, NC 27712

Tel: 601-347-6093

Email: kltjackson@outlook.com

Program Co-Chair

Molly Hamm

The DREAM Project

Tel: 913-636-9669

Email: mollymhamm@gmail.com

Program Co-Chair

Katelyn Mack


San Francisco, CA USA

Tel: 415-689-3874

Email: katelyn.mack@fsg.org