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Potential Case Site Organizations

Applications for 2024 are now closed

The practice of evaluation had become common with in many organizations. Funding organizations regularly risk their grantees to evaluate their efforts, and increasingly organizations are initiating evaluative activities on their own to foster organizational learning. As organizations grow increasingly familiar with evaluation, new questions emerge about how more effectively sustain, embed, and make sure of insights that come from evaluations. Questions we often hear include, but not limited to...

  • How can we better connect disparate evaluations so we are able to learn across evaluations, not just from one at a time?
  • How can we ensure that evaluations speak more directly to our organization's values?
  • Are there ways to embed evaluation in our organization so it becomes a natural part of what we do rather than a one-off exercise?
  • Can we develop an organizational culture in which we ask evaluative questions even in the absence of evaluations (e.g., questioning assumptions; regularly wondering what is working, for whom and under what conditions)?
  • How can we position ourselves so we can better learn from and use the insights gained from evaluations across our organization?
  • How can we sustain evaluation practice amid an ever-changing and evolving financial landscape?
  • Are there ways to streamline evaluations we commission from external parties? How can we be clearer about our expectations and needs so they are more likely to deliver insights that are meaningful, credible, and actionable?

If some of these questions resonate with your organization’s experience, then the Max Bell School of Public Policy’s Evaluation Capacity Case Challenge (EC3) may be of interest to you and your organization.

What organizations are eligible?

Organizations that meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply for consideration:

  • Based in Canada or the U.S.
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion are central considerations in the organization's work
  • Aims to improve a social issue through their work
  • The organization does (either internally or through external evaluators) some evaluation

What should the selected case site expect?

The case sight organization plays a central, important role in Evaluation Capacity Case Challenge. One organization is selected to participate each year. If your organization is selected as the case site for 2024, here is what you can expect:

  • Identify two points of contact. We will ask your organization to provide two points of contact to engage with the planning committee as we lead up to the challenge event. 
  • Engage in assessing your organization's exiting evaluation capacity and learning culture. In preparation for the case challenge event, it will be important to understand what capacity your organization already has to support evaluation as well as where opportunities exist for strengthening this capacity. In 2023, we found it helpful to meet in person with representatives across the case site organization to discuss their existing capacity and experiences with evaluation. This also involved completing a short questionnaire. We will need your help in identifying who should provide input from your organization in the evaluation capacity assessment process, inviting them to participate, and (should we all decide it is beneficial) coordinating with us for an in-person or online meeting (if we meet in person at your organization we will pay the costs of travelling to you). 
  • Collaborate on developing materials for the case challenge event. Last year we found it helpful to provide the EC3 teams with a written description of the case (approximately five pages that included the organization’s history and structure, current activities related to evaluation, organization’s learning context and culture, the desired future state for evaluation in the organization, and the specific challenge question the organization wanted addressed by the teams). In addition, the case site delivered a presentation to the teams (approximately 30 minutes) and engaged in a Q&A session at the event. We anticipate similar products for the 2024 EC3 and ask that the two case site representatives collaborate with the EC3 planning team to develop these materials in advance of the event.
  • Attend and actively participate in the May 24 & 25th event days. At least one representative from the case site will attend the in-person event (both days). This representative will deliver the case site presentation, participate in an hour-long Q&A session, and serve as one of the judges. The Max Bell School of Public Policy will support the travel expenses for one individual from the case site to attend in-person. Should additional case site representatives wish to attend in person, we would ask that the organization support their travel expenses.

Other items of importance to organization considering applying:

  • Our hope is to keep the identity of the case site a surprise until one week prior to the event. The EC3 planning team will work with the selected organization to ensure we maintain this anonymity throughout the time leading up to the event.
  • Leadership and staff of the selected organization will have access to all of the 2024 EC3 trainings and associated resources.
  • Attendance at the case challenge event will be by invitation, as a result it may be attended by members of the broader evaluation and McGill communities.
  • We hope that the case site organization will be excited to continue the dialogue with members of the planning team after the case challenge event. There are many possibilities for continuing the engagement including, but not limited to providing us with feedback on the experience so we can improve in 2025 and beyond, engaging in discussions about how to integrate the suggestions from EC3 teams into the organization’s activities, networking with other case sites as EC3 continues, sharing your experiences with EC3 with future potential case sites and the broader evaluation community (perhaps through a presentation or publication), and continuing to share your organization’s experience strengthening their evaluation capacity over time with the members of the EC3 planning team.

If your organization would like to apply to be a future EC3 case site and you feel time is available to engage in the activities note above, please feel free to email us at: mbspp.casechallenge [at]


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