Contribution analysis in policy work: Assessing advocacy’s influence

This brief provides a background on contribution analysis and its applications, as well as walking through five case studies in which the authors have used contribution analysis to assess whether and how advocacy efforts made a difference.

The brief also contains practical conclusions designed to assist evaluators who choose to use contribution analysis in their own work.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Carlisle Levine.

Authors and their affiliation

  • Robin Kane, Principal/Founder of RK Evaluation & Strategies
  • Carlisle Levine, President and CEO of BLE Solutions
  • Carlyn Orians, Director of Evaluation, ORS Impact
  • Claire Reinelt, Independent Consultant

Key features of this resource on contribution analysis

In Contribution Analysis in Policy Work: Assessing Advocacy's Influence, the authors provide an overview of contribution analysis and its applications; present five cases in which they applied contribution analysis to assess how specific advocacy efforts influenced U.S. state and national policy; and then, drawing from that experience, provide guidance for using contribution analysis to assess advocacy's influence.   

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This brief emerges from the authors' experience applying contribution analysis when assessing advocacy influence. Its primary aim is to provide guidance to other evaluators who are undertaking similar endeavors. The authors will use the brief as a reference as they continue to strengthen their practice using contribution analysis when evaluating advocacy and policy change.  

Why would you recommend it to other people?

In advocacy evaluation, establishing credible causal links between policy change and advocacy efforts is one of the greatest challenges. Contribution analysis is a non-experimental impact evaluation approach that is well suited for the task.


Kane, R., Levine, C., Orians, C., & Reinelt, C. (2017). Contribution Analysis in Policy Work: Assessing Advocacy's Influence. Retrieved from:

Related resources

'Contribution analysis in policy work: Assessing advocacy’s influence' is referenced in: