The foundation conducts evaluation of its grants and programs in an ongoing cycle of assessment and program refinement. DDCF's evaluation objectives are two-fold:
- To help the foundation determine whether its grants are meeting their objectives.
More specifically, to determine whether grants are achieving their intended outcomes and whether the grant-making strategies the foundation has employed are helping DDCF meet its program objectives.
- To inform future decision-making and to guide the foundation's work.
Program evaluations will help DDCF determine whether to continue, modify or discontinue a particular grant-making strategy or initiative.
The DDCF employs three main evaluation strategies that build on and inform each other over time. The foundation's programs tailor each of the three strategies as appropriate to accommodate their diverse grant-making approaches.
- Monitoring and Assessment:
Through site visits, grantee consultations and review of annual progress reports, staff determines compliance with grant agreements and assesses initial outputs, outcomes and indicators that are likely to correlate with the future impact of the grant.Ongoing process conducted by internal staff and, as needed, outside consultants.
- Evaluation of Initiatives:
A specific initiative or cluster of related grants is selected for a more intensive review. This type of evaluation usually involves outside consultants to determine whether funded initiatives appear to be achieving their desired goals and objectives. Results help staff determine whether refinement in the initiative design is needed, and/or whether continued funding is merited. Conducted every three to five years, by internal staff together with consultants and/or field experts.
- External Program Review:
The foundation's starting point in creating new initiatives is analyzing a field, or sectors within a field, to identify potential funding opportunities. It is also the point to which staff return every five years to conduct a systematic review of DDCF-supported fields and the foundation's role within them. The staff then assesses how to incorporate the findings in the refinement or redesign of program strategies or initiatives (or their elimination) and continues/ repeats the evaluation cycle. Conducted approximately every five years using outside consultants and/or field experts.
If program evaluations conducted by the foundation yield information that may be useful to DDCF-supported fields, the foundation will post its findings under the appropriate News & Publications section on this website.