The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) firmly believes that each organization striving for high performance has to be information rich. Collecting the right data and analyzing it will help organizations determine how effective their programs are. With that goal in mind, ABF has invested in building a results-based monitoring & evaluation (M&E) system in the past couple of years. As an organization working with many partners, ABF is dedicated to sharing this knowledge with the organizations it partners with in order to help build their capacity. The training marathon during the week of October 8–12, 2018, was organized by ABF with the objective of strengthening the M&E capacity of NGOs, corporate partners, and evaluation professionals.
Over 130 participants in four different training sessions had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ray C. Rist, an internationally recognized authority on evaluation and metrics. He has worked for leading US and international institutions and is the author or editor of 35 books and publications on measuring the impact of donors’ programs and state policies.
The week started with training sessions for civil society organizations. For two days and a half, 60 representatives of non-governmental organizations learned how to think strategically about evaluation and how to manage it. They were exposed to concepts such as the Theory of Change (TOC), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), development of evaluation questions, evaluation planning, pre- and post- data collection. A brochure prepared by ABF with the help of Dr. Rist on “How to Measure Change” will help guide organizations through the ten steps of building a system for measuring project results.
On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, 40 evaluation professionals—among them independent evaluators, government representatives, academics, and research agency professionals—listened to Dr. Rist’s perspective on some of the new trends in M&E and his recommendations on how to become better at addressing the needs of their clients.
On the last day, two sessions were offered on the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR professionals benefited from a discussion on “How to Know You are Giving Effectively?” Twenty CEOs participated in a business breakfast on the topic of impact evaluation organized by ABF in partnership with the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum and with the media support of Capital and Karieri. The CEO of Lidl and the Manager of Avon in Bulgaria shared their CSR experience. In the afternoon, 20 CSR professionals, representing many AmCham member companies, engaged in a discussion on how to measure the social impact of their CSR activities. The AmCham Communications Manager Daniel Kiryakov, shared his experience in the area.
Participants in the Friday sessions received a brochure titled “Elements of a Winning CSR Strategy,” summarizing the key steps that companies should follow to determine whether they give effectively.