Building a Strategic Learning and Evaluation System for Your Organization

This report, written by Hallie Preskill and Katelyn Mack for the Foundation Strategy Group (FSG), provides detailed guidance on taking a strategic approach to evaluation.  Outlining a framework and set of practices aimed at helping organisation be more systematic, coordinated, and intentional about evaluation the guide seeks to ensure a better understanding of what,when, why, with whom, and with what resources to evaluate.


"Evaluation in many of today’s organizations is ad hoc, not aligned to strategy, underfunded, and underused. We have found this to be true regardless of sector, type or size of organization, or whether they are for profit, philanthropic, or nonprofit organizations. Often times, this situation has led to monitoring and evaluation efforts being perceived as adding little value to organization decision makers, and a perception that monitoring and evaluation efforts are not worth their cost.

At the same time, evaluation as a tool for strategic learning is gaining traction within the philanthropic field. This focus on learning is generating interest in evaluation methods and approaches that provide the insights needed to inform strategic decisions. Though concerns about the value of evaluation continue, foundations and nonprofits are increasing their investments in evaluation – and are experimenting with new approaches – expecting that they will help increase their effectiveness and impact." (Preskill & Mack, 2013)


  • Evaluation Vision 7
  • Strategy and Focus 10
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Activities 15
  • Supportive Environment 21
  • Learning Culture and Practices 26


Preskill, H. and Mack, K. (2013). Building a Strategic Learning and Evaluation System for Your Organization, Foundation Strategy Group (FSG). Retrieved from: