The practice of issue-oriented advocacy among private, nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) has increased in recent years. This paper examines how such organizations evaluate their advocacy efforts. It provides a survey of evaluation approaches, and reports on approaches employed by five NGO's which engage in advocacy. The research suggests that methods used by these organizations to evaluate their advocacy efforts tend to focus on measurable outputs, outcomes, and processes. Less attention is paid to evaluating the theories of action that undergird efforts. Attention to outputs, outcomes, and processes may provide data about the level of effectiveness at which staff and others are working to achieve desired results, however this data does not necessarily reflect effective and reality-based management toward achievement of mission. Evaluation approaches, such as Utilization-Focused Evaluation and Co-Evaluation, which focus on ongoing reflection, testing, and adjustment of undergirding beliefs and assumptions, as well as practices, have the potential to assure continuous improvement in effectiveness toward mission achievement. Use of these approaches may require, however, skills of moral reasoning and inquiry not developed in the staff and leadership of many organizations. Development of such skills and use of learning-oriented evaluation approaches can help NGO's and NGO advocates ensure that their work is not only done well, but that it is effective in achieving mission goals. Their use can also ensure that ends and means are appropriate and reflective of the values and principles which these organizations profess to actualize in their work.


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