The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot: A New Approach Every Staff Member Can Understand

by Elena Harman


The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot is about changing the conversation and the eliminating the collective sigh that exists around evaluation. Harman begins by addressing the field’s shortcomings and her own misgivings about practices that have shortchanged our ability to truly measure what counts: learning. This honest account of her own field is followed by straight talk about the essential steps to creating an evaluation that’s meaningful to you and your team.


  • More about thinking and learning instead of data and accountability.
  • The three most important steps to discovering how your nonprofit can grow.
  • Productive strategies using common language for evaluation.
  • Pros, cons and how-to’s for keeping evaluation in-house and hiring consultants.

About the Author

Elena Harman, PhD, is the CEO and Founder of Vantage Evaluation, a consulting firm committed to evolving the way purpose-driven nonprofits think about and use evaluation—from data for data’s sake to evaluation as a learning process, guiding strategic improvements. Elena’s expertise lies in maintaining the big picture view of how evaluation can inform high-quality social programming and engaging diverse audiences in a productive conversation about evaluation. Prior to launching Vantage Evaluation in 2013, Elena was an internal evaluator at the Colorado Health Foundation, where she helped launch the foundation’s measurable results evaluation model. Elena holds a BS in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from M.I.T. and an MA and PhD in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods from Claremont Graduate University. Her work has been published in the journal Evaluation and Program Planning. She is a regular presenter at nonprofit conferences throughout Colorado and served as the president of the Colorado Evaluation Network in 2019.

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