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Strategic Learning & Evaluation

FSG partners with clients on strategic learning and evaluation projects by employing a variety of approaches, methods, and processes to provide timely, credible, and useful information that can be acted upon to increase organizational effectiveness and impact. Our approach is underpinned by a belief that strategy and evaluation are inextricably linked, and we view evaluation as a systematic inquiry based on data and evidence to facilitate intentional learning and continuous improvement.

Strategic Evaluation Client Projects 


  • Designing and implementing developmental, formative, and summative evaluations, strategic reviews, and retrospectives, using a range of approaches and data collection methods with a focus on communicating results in meaningful and actionable ways.
  • Developing organization-wide strategic learning and evaluation systems that provide a framework and implementation plan.
  • Acting as a learning intermediary to help organizations develop actionable learning agendas, become a learning organization, and to align monitoring, research, and evaluation activities.
  • Developing shared measurement systems as part of a collective impact initiative or as a means to bring alignment and coordination of data to a group of programs and/or organizations.
  • Providing training, webinars, coaching, and technical assistance to build evaluation capacity of internal and external stakeholders, including grantees.
  • Advancing knowledge in the field through research, tools, guides, reports, and articles.

FSG let us be very involved all along the way and they were open to our feedback. That collaboration made us feel very confident that we would not end up with an evaluation that in some way could be misread. They were very collaborative, very responsible, and very responsive.
Lisa Goldschmidt, Director, Digital
Student Achievement Partners
FSG staff were extremely creative and disciplined in guiding us through a strategy planning process that resulted in a simple framework to capture a very dynamic theory of change. Also, rather than developing a monitoring system that would require a whole new set of activities and tools, they helped us reframe activities and reports we were already engaged with to make them more helpful to us and, more importantly, to our grantee partners.
Lourdes Rivera, Former Senior Program Officer
Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice
Ford Foundation
FSG did a top-level job—looking at the big picture, identifying issues, and providing practical guidance to working out problems.
Laura Leviton, Senior Advisor for Evaluation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
We now have a shared language for talking about strategy, learning, and evaluation. Through our partnership with FSG, we’ve made big gains toward creating a more intentional culture of learning.
Chera D. Reid, PhD
Director of Strategic Learning, Research, and Evaluation
The Kresge Foundation

How We Work

  • Engage stakeholders to increase the timeliness, relevance, and usefulness of monitoring, research, and evaluation findings.
  • Reflect a systems orientation that accounts for complex, dynamic, emergent, and adaptive environments.
  • Employ rigorous, credible, and real-time data collection approaches and methods.
  • Communicate findings in ways that are meaningful and accessible to multiple stakeholders.
  • Catalyze individual, group, organization, and community learning, development, and change.
  • Inform and build the philanthropic and nonprofit fields.

The Evolution of Strategic Learning & Evaluation at FSG

Though FSG initially focused on bringing the analytic rigor of strategy consulting to philanthropy, it soon became clear that strategy alone wouldn’t produce the social impact our clients hoped to achieve.

Our early work with foundations taught us that strategy and evaluation are inextricably linked—strategy establishes the boundaries for evaluation, while evaluation guides the development and refinement of strategy.

In 2006, we led a year-long research effort and wrote From Insight to Action: New Directions in Foundation Evaluation, which sought to demystify evaluation for philanthropy. The report generated a great deal of interest in FSG’s evaluation services, and in response we began to build a world-class strategic learning and evaluation team led by Hallie Preskill, former president of the American Evaluation Association.

Research and Tools