Next Generation Evidence

Strategies for More Equitable Social Impact

Evidence is remarkably powerful; it helps us understand the needs of communities, make decisions in times of change and scarcity, and build and do more of what works. However, practitioners—the leaders and program staff at nonprofits, school districts, and public agencies—face a number of structural and practical hurdles to building and using evidence. Traditional evaluation and research methods are often not timely, affordable, meaningful, or inclusive for helping practitioners make decisions to increase their impact for people and communities. Too often and for too long, evaluation was a thing done to practitioners and the communities they serve, relegating them to a passive role when they should be regarded as leaders of this work. Worse, their data and evidence has been used against them in disempowering thumbs-up, thumbs-down circumstances, rather than for learning and improvement that leads to impact.

Next Generation Evidence: Strategies for More Equitable Social Impact (Brookings Institution Press, 2023) features innovative thinking from leaders across policy, philanthropy, research, and practice. Together, these leaders lay out a vision for a stronger, more equitable data and evidence ecosystem that centers on the voices of people and communities most directly impacted by the problems we seek to solve. Throughout the book, case studies featuring practitioners at various stages in their evidence-building journey highlight concrete illustrations of how continuous evidence building can benefit organizations and outcomes for communities.

Next Generation Evidence will be published on December 1, 2023. Thanks to generous philanthropic support from MacKenzie Scott, the e-book will be available to download for free. Hard copies of the book will be available to purchase via our publisher.

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NextGen Campaign

Advancing a stronger, more equitable evidence ecosystem that centers practitioners and communities, connects equity with data and evidence, elevates community voices, embraces a continuous R&D approach, and broadens our definitions of evidence.

NextGen Evidence Campaign