Ask an Evaluator


(Gillian Kerr) #1

Hello, all - Stacey McDonald invited me to post some evaluation resources on this forum and be informally available for questions from the OTF community. I’m a member of the Toronto-based Evaluation Café, which is sponsored by the Canadian Evaluation Society, and I’ve been doing evaluations for about 30 years in Canada and elsewhere. I’m an organizational psychologist, on the Board of a Canadian nonprofit (LogicalOutcomes) that develops open source evaluation tools, was a VP of United Way of Greater Toronto in the 1990s, and have done a lot of policy work for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now IRCC) and other funders.

So feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to steer you toward useful resources. I’ve also invited other members of the Evaluation Café to join us, and they may pitch in. And by the way, you’re welcome to join us at Café meetings - we get together every couple of months, usually at a downtown Toronto pub. See,

To start with, here is some key evaluation material:

  • is a great collection of techniques, templates and methodologies. My project teams often refer to it when we’re planning an evaluation design or writing a proposal.

  • Another great resource is the Community Tool Box from the University of Kansas. The Tool Box covers a full range of skills for community action (see the Table of Contents), including a chapter on evaluation


There seem to be dozens, if not hundreds, of handbooks on evaluation. They can be useful to get consensus vocabulary and concepts (evaluators tend to argue endlessly on the definitions of concepts like ‘impact’ or ‘logic model’, and it helps to decide on a shared glossary). However, they are heavy reading for most nonprofits.

Here are a few I like:

Martha McGuire, who is on the Board of LogicalOutcomes, was one of the developers of this 2014 guide for United Way of Toronto and York Region: Evaluation Resources

The United Nations recently released their 2016 UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation. It’s available in multiple languages. The UN document describes the values underlying effective and ethical evaluations, including the importance of a commitment to act on the evaluation’s results. ​

For a Canadian perspective on evaluation in international development, see Global Affairs Canada (2016), Results-based management for international assistance programming at Global Affairs Canada.

LogicalOutcomes is working on a set of free and open source evaluation tools which I’ll post about soon. In the meantime, feel free to post additional resources and questions.

Gillian Kerr, Ph.D., C.Psych., President Emeritus, LogicalOutcomes

(Stacey McDonald) #2

Thank you so much for sharing these resources @Gillian_Kerr and making yourself available to answer questions!

If there’s a great guide or resource out there that has helped you develop your evaluation practice, please share it here!