What Works and What Doesn’t: The Hewlett Foundation’s Transparency in Sharing Evaluation Results

One of the best parts of our work is getting to be a thought partner with clients. As social impact consultants, we’re always eager to help organizations take a closer look at their work and learn more about what is and isn’t working.

As part of a recent project with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we did just that. The Foundation’s Effective Philanthropy Group hired us to evaluate its Knowledge Creation and Dissemination strategy, which seeks to inform, influence, and improve philanthropic approaches and decision-making.

Our focus for this evaluation was pretty simple: Identify what aspects of the strategy might be more or less effective and help inform the Hewlett Foundation’s future investments in this area. Much of what we found showed that this strategy is leading to important contributions in the field. But the Foundation wasn’t content just to tout those successes. Instead, the Hewlett Foundation recently posted an amazing summary of the strategy’s evolution—including some key findings from our evaluation—on its blog. The Effective Philanthropy Group noted what has worked over the years and, more importantly, what hasn’t. The Foundation states clearly, “We believe it is important to share openly about this strategy that didn’t bear out as we expected.”

Take a look at the video they produced, below. (It features our very own Paul Harder among others!) And you can find the full version of our evaluation report for the Hewlett Foundation on their website.