Skip to main content

Measuring the Immeasurable: Lessons for Building Grantee Capacity to Evaluate Hard-to-Assess Efforts


Evaluation done well should be so much more than documenting the activities and outputs of a grant. To the extent possible, it should leave an organization with a fuller understanding of the process and impacts of its work. Good evaluation should expand an organization’s ability to reflect on its work and consider thoughtfully how to meet objectives and increase impact over
time. This is especially important for organizations engaged in policy and advocacy or systems change work because of how difficult it can be to assess the direct impact of their work.

This briefing document helps funders figure out how they can best help their grantees develop the capacity to measure progress towards outcomes on initiatives that are difficult to measure. The data for these findings and conclusions are drawn from our experiences working with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program, which set about trying to help grantees better articulate and document their outcomes, improve their work and enhance their evaluation capacity.