This report makes recommendations for improving the evaluation of social programs and fostering partnerships between practitioners and evaluators. It calls for the field to have clearer guidelines on how evaluation can meet the particular needs and contexts of different kinds of programs, and for individual organizations and fields of practice to have the chance to demonstrate that they will use evaluative information for program improvement if afforded the opportunity to do so. Strategies include: promote a menu of credible evaluation alternatives that can be used when an randomized control trial (RCT) or other impact methodology is not suitable; to improve the use of RCTs; help more nonprofits use common systems of evaluative information at a reasonable cost; develop more rigorous standards and practices for scaling and replication; include the experience of practitioners, researchers and funders in the design and testing of new program models; involve practitioners in the design of evaluations and data collection systems; have practitioners, evaluators, and funders work together to develop new ways of assessing program models and organizational capacity; and have funders invest in translating evaluation findings into practical lessons for program leaders and practitioners.
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