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Consulting

Creative Evaluation and Engagement is adaptive and context-specific. As such, the “right” method is determined by need and context. This approach draws inspiration, methods, and learning from multiple disciplines, including organizational development, traditional evaluation, research, social psychology, the arts, neuroaesthetics, and community development.

If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that humans are terrible at predicting the future. Since we cannot predict or control people, organizations, or communities, Inspire to Change does not predict our evaluations step by step. We can discuss our methods and practices in general terms and hope that you can see exciting and impactful possibilities for our partnership. We understand that not having a detailed outline of what will occur can be a risk, but this work is emergent and complex--by definition, this means that the path forward is uncertain

Services

We facilitate learning, evaluation, and research processes so you can learn what matters in real-time, and maximize your contribution to a whole, beautiful, and just world. Inspire to Change and the Creative Evaluation and Engagement process supports changemakers personally and professionally as well as teams, organizations, and initiatives that want to engage in principles-driven learning and evaluation. We have worked locally, nationally, and globally with nonprofits, school districts, museums, foundations, and cross-sector initiatives. All of our partners share one thing in common–they are committed to co-creating a whole,

beautiful, and just world.

Our services include:

Overview

Alignment of Mission, Vision, and Values

Board Development

Creative Engagement

Creative Evaluation

Developing Principles of Data Use

Embedding and Embodying Equity (IDEA)

Evocative Facilitation for Transformation

Guiding Principles Development

Restorative Circles for Healing and Hope

Strategic Adaptation

Strategic Planning

Storytelling

Embedding and Embodying Equity (IDEA)

Descriptions

Alignment of Mission, Vision, and Values

This phase is focused on aligning mission, vision, assumptions, values, context, guiding principles, and learning purpose–rooted in place–with attention to language, power, and perspectives. This work is a critical first step in evaluation and engagement, as we need to know where we’re going before we assess the extent to which we have arrived

Board Development

A healthy board is critical to a healthy, thriving organization. Board members will walk away with a better understanding of their actual roles versus assumed roles as a nonprofit board members, and feel empowered about their decisions to volunteer their time. Our Board Development facilitation includes large group and small breakout groups. It is targeted to those who are new to a nonprofit board but could also serve as a refresher for those who have had a lapse in serving.  

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Creative Engagement

What sets Inspire to Change apart is our commitment to infusing arts-based methodologies into our facilitation work. By melding artistic forms and creative expressions to traditional facilitation techniques, we’ve found that we’re better able to explore, understand, represent, and even challenge human experiences. Arts-based methods, when presented in a safe and non-threatening manner, both broaden the invitation for participation and allow space for non-verbal, non-Western ways of knowing and being

Creative Evaluation

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Our evaluation services are ideal for organizations, initiatives, and leaders who are cohesive and resourced sufficiently to achieve their intended outcomes, and want to learn as they go. Evaluation and research efforts might focus on the meaningfulness and effectiveness of principles, the implementation and/or impact of the work, and analysis and sensemaking to identify pre-determined and emergent context and concepts. Not sure what to evaluate, how to evaluate, or who to involve? We recommend starting with a smaller evaluation planning contract. Want to build your team’s capacity to do your own evaluation? We recommend evaluation coaching, where we meet with you to facilitate the process, but your team does the on-the-ground work of collecting data. Overwhelmed and want to off-board all parts of the evaluation process? We recommend partnering with us to conduct a full-service evaluation for your organization

Data Collection

If you don’t want to do a full evaluation but just need help collecting data in a way that promotes healing, we recommend working with us to design and implement data collection methods.  Data Collection methods may include: 1) Quantitative (e.g., surveys, psychographic segmentation), 2) Qualitative (e.g., focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographic, user experience), and/or Arts-based (e.g., photovoice, visual matrix, quilting, poetry, etc.)

Developing Principles of Data Use

Evaluation and evaluators have a long history of weaponizing data to marginalize and exclude minority, indigenous, and queer people and communities, often fueled by philanthropic interests which value impact over building relationships with the communities they serve. Part of our work has been learning and unlearning definitions of data. Many evaluators, organizations, and programs embed systemic and implicit biases into what they consider “valid” data. This service is designed to assist people in decreasing bias in the work, and expanding ideas regarding validity, fidelity, accountability, and findings by including the arts and indigenous and culturally-specific ways of knowing and being into systemic change work

Embedding and Embodying Equity (IDEA)

When you partner with us to embed equity, we will walk you through the stages of aligning, learning, adapting, and embodying with the goal of centering your work's immediate ecosystem on equity. In this work, we meet people where they are on their equity journey. We unpack their assumptions, lived experiences, and aspirations around equity and inclusion, and then help them practice self-calibration and self-awareness. We ask organizations to stop thinking of equity as an addition or lens and begin thinking of it as a foundational and mission-critical aspect of their work. We set the bar for success higher than increased diversity and inclusion and work towards dismantling oppressive practices and beliefs and learning new, liberatory ways of working and being

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Evocative Facilitation for Transformation

Evocative Facilitation for Transformation means embodying the commitment to full-sensory knowing, relationships, and care. As part of this work, we evoke, relate, and care. We do this by representing what we have done together in well-told stories, evocative case studies, astute selection and juxtaposition of quotes and observations, and powerful, captivating, and accurate visual representations. It is often not good enough to know something–people need to hear, taste, smell, and touch it. In other words, we aren't just trying to change knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors; we're also trying to change hearts, minds, spirits, and relationships

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Guiding Principles Development

When you partner with us to develop or refine your guiding principles, we will walk you through the process of determining what values-based principles will best guide your work. A well-written guiding principle statement is grounded in values about what matters and provides direction rather than a rigid or detailed prescription (Patton, 2017). Guiding principle statements intentionally work in complexity rather than in binaries like black/white, good/bad, or right/wrong, and must be interpreted and applied contextually. They act as a rudder during the work, pointing people in the right direction when working in complex adaptive systems by articulating both the what (outcomes and impacts) and the how (values). They also identify what is most useful and meaningful. They lift up distinct concepts and examine how each principle interacts with and shapes the others. Taken together, principles provide a cohesive framework that guides meaningful work from hyper-local to global settings

Restorative Circles for Healing and Hope

We facilitate conversations that are restorative and foster a sense of listening and hearing from each participant, allowing grace, empathy, and understanding to permeate the space. This process allows for healing and understanding in the group. Participants experience the following: 1) conversations where everyone has the opportunity to hear and be heard; 2) a process of discovering what can be jointly believed and understood to be true; 3) going beyond disconnections to make connections and reconnections; and 4) illuminated possibilities for a path forward

Strategic Adaptation

Even with the best strategic plan, people, organizations, and initiatives need to continuously reassess and adapt in order to stay relevant, nimble, creative, and viable. We assist with this by helping clients to take a strategic, journey-oriented approach to adaptation. Journey orientation at Inspire to Change is based on the belief that the past, present, and future are interconnected. Our past and present are shaped by our experiences, trauma, growth, and relationships. Our future is comprised of our hopes and dreams for ourselves, our relationships, and the people we care about. Our past, present, and future intersect—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Our understanding of the past, present, and future continually evolve as interrelated parts shape each other and new meanings emerge. As we reach new understandings, we help you to make decisions, act, and move into new possibilities

Strategic Planning

We recognize that multiple perspectives, experiences, and practices are mission-critical for solving difficult problems. Our consultants will walk with your organization's team to assist in building a stronger, smarter, and more resilient organization, with equity at its center. This includes facilitating strategic visioning and board development processes that bring roots, mission, vision, principles, strategies, and policies into alignment. We weave arts-based practices and attention to wellbeing throughout this work

Theory of Change Development

Theories of Change emerge from evaluation's early project mentality: the idea that projects and programs are sufficiently powerful and effective at getting people and systems to change. Theories of change assume control. They're command and control thinking. They are based mainly on linear causality, where you have predetermined outcomes and causal paths for getting there.

 

Principles are a substitute, and an alternative, to theories of change. Rather than outlining a step-by-step road map, they are crafted to be responsive to and effective in complex adaptive systems. High-quality guiding principles act as anchors, rudders, and north stars, allowing people to make their way through complexity while remembering where they've been, where they're going, and why. Rather than a theory of change, they are a theory of engagement.

We help you develop a principles-driven theory of change…or, even better, transformation! Why principles-driven? Michael Quinn Patton explains:

 

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Storytelling

Inspire to Change helps organizations tell stories that matter. Through data, we chart the passion, purpose, and strategies of organizations along their change journeys. Telling data stories in narrative helps us understand past events, predict future trends, and develop sustainable strategies for change.