All Print Issues

Sep/Oct 2001

Issue #119


Evaluation is perhaps the most loaded, and often the most feared, word in a community developer’s vocabulary. Done well, evaluations require organizations to define what they care most about, align stakeholders around those values, enable them to know whether they are achieving the impact they seek, and communicate that impact to community constituents, funders and policymakers. Increasingly, community builders face new and tougher questions: “So what? Did it end poverty, improve quality of life, foster self sufficiency? How do you know?” Equally challenging is the question, “Is your approach cost effective?”


The Evaluation Imperative

In the aftermath of September 11th, many of us felt the initial shock and sadness turn to a deeper quest to connect with those things that matter most: family, friends, […]


A Look In The Mirror

My first experience with organizational evaluation came early. I was a secretary at my local neighborhood center – known by its constituents as “the Center” – sitting in the tiny […]


What Makes an Evaluation Successful?

That’s one of the questions that the McAuley Institute and the Development Leadership Network asked staff of community development organizations this year in a mail survey and eight case studies […]


Beyond the Number of Jobs

Native tribes and people, historically the poorest of the poor in this country, “own” substantial assets but often do not control them. Many lands and natural resources are held in […]


Getting At Impact: A Beginners Guide to Program Evaluation

In 1999 the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association (SMHA) owned and operated 492 units of democratically controlled affordable housing. It had demographic data on its low-income residents, and management data on […]


Some Tips on Collecting Data

Once you have identified indicators, you need to collect data on them on a regular basis so you can see how they are changing. Indicators are only useful to you […]


Color-coding Change

In order to measure success, you need to know where you started. That may seem like a simple statement, but getting a complete picture of something even as concrete as […]


Roundtable on Evaluation in Community Groups

Shelterforce recently brought together a small group of practitioners, evaluators, and funders to discuss their experiences with evaluation, the strengths and weaknesses of current practice, and ideas about how it […]


Evaluation Resources

The Success Measures Project, an initiative of the Development Leadership Network, has developed a set of indicators for evaluating housing, economic development, and community building programs. The website includes an […]


Shifting The Balance of Power

A substantial amount of Community Development Block Grant money – at least for housing rehabilitation – was reaching the poor in Birmingham, Alabama. At least, that was the conclusion of […]

Organizing Strategy

Vertical Integration

When Vickie Stapleton’s landlord announced his intention to terminate his project-based Section 8 contract with HUD last year, she got nervous. “A lot of people in our complex have been […]


Making Use of December

There is a popular myth in fundraising circles that December is the best month to raise money. Like most myths, this one has some elements of truth. December is a […]


Building Communities, Building Careers

A Guide to Careers in Community Development, by Paul C. Brophy and Alice Shabecoff. Island Press, 2001. 309 pp. $17.05. I come to this book as a veteran of the […]


A Housing Trust Fund Would Boost the Economy

Job seekers, home buyers, low- and moderate-income families, and the economy as a whole will benefit from creation of a National Housing Trust Fund, according to analysis in Home Sweet […]