2021 FEAN Member Survey Results

Posted on September 12, 2021

As part of the Funder and Evaluator Affinity Network (FEAN) culminating activities, co-conveners, Engage R+D and Equal Measure, fielded a survey in May 2021 to capture experiences from members of the FEAN community and understand the impact of our work together. A total of 49 members responded to the survey. This document summarizes their responses and respondent characteristics.

Perspectives on FEAN

Exhibit 4. How FEAN has affected you, your organization or network of practice, and/or the broader field. (n=17)

Fostered connections and relationships, including between funders and evaluators (8 responses)

“FEAN has allowed me to broaden my network and make connections with folks that I may not have. But what I enjoyed most was working closely with like-minded folks – on both the evaluator and funder side.”

“FEAN has been a great overarching collaboration effort.”

“FEAN has been a tremendous opportunity to connect with funders and evaluators in the evaluation ecosystem. Relatively new to the field, I have benefited from the networking and relationship-building opportunities.”

“FEAN has supported deeper relationships and trust with fellow evaluators and funders.”

“I feel so much more connected to the philanthropic evaluation community and more hopeful about future directions for our field.”

“I have appreciated FEAN creating a space that allows evaluators and funders to come together at the same table. There are many spaces that it feels like evaluators have to fight to have a place at (like GEO) and FEAN has felt like a space with less of the traditional power dynamics.”

“I’ve developed relationships with other evaluators and learning/eval leaders at foundations that may lead to greater collaboration on work, knowledge-sharing, and calls to shift practice in the field.”

“Loved the conversations, and it was great to be able to meet new colleagues.”

Provided a space to share knowledge, resources, and best practices (6 responses)

“Built my own capacity in field building and in thinking through, with diverse colleagues (funders and evaluators) the development of field building in evaluation for global transformation”

“FEAN has created an important set of norms, standards, and best practices for how foundations and evaluation consultants should engage.”

“For my institution, especially where it was organizationally, FEAN helped to provide a container for thinking/doing I was already engaging in. FEAN also helped me to see relationally where my institution is relative to others, from a point of learning from others about what they’ve tried, as well as to see where we’ve been trying things that can be shared.”

“It’s helped connect disparate parts of the field to my work and offers resources – both people/networks and guides for best practice – that weren’t in a centralized location before.”

“Participating in FEAN has also exposed me to new practices/solutions for some very difficult challenges facing evaluators in philanthropy.”

“Our initiative partners closely with FEAN on thought partnership, dialogue, and product development. The work of this group has had a great influence on our work. There is a lot still to be done and we are grateful to have such a good partner.”

General praise and appreciation (5 responses)

“FEAN has been a strong field building exercise.”

“FEAN has been one of the most important and beneficial programs I’ve participated in since entering this field.”

“FEAN was a fantastic professional home for me, and a great place as I navigated from a funder to a consultant in my own career.”

“It was an impact-driven space, a place where we showed up with our personal values and beliefs. It has been a really amazing experience, and I will miss it.”

“This has been the single most significant membership for me in my work. I can’t imagine not having this resource.”

Recommendations and critiques (2 responses)

“FEAN’s workstreams felt quite siloed to me. I would’ve liked to have been involved in more than one area of conversation. I think the workstream in which I was involved could have benefited from greater co-creation.”

“There has been minimal visibility and usability of this work. It seems to be more a way to highlight and position the organizers rather than contribute to the field.”

Other responses (5 responses)

“FEAN conversations have helped me think differently, and also with the collective force/authority of peers across the country.”

“FEAN has helped to change the narrative about the role of evaluation in philanthropy in such a practical, action focused way. So many of the issues that have been bubbling under the surface for years were brought to the collective awareness of this group in a solutions-oriented, constructive way.”

“FEAN is part of a momentum that has gathered around evaluation in the service of equity and is as much a part of the energy as it has helped to shape it.”

“Would be so wonderful to consider how to sustain conversation / exchange of perspectives between funders and evaluators.”