Inform. Engage. Inspire.
Summer 2006 – Fall 2010
Co-sponsors: Woodcock Foundation, Hattaway Communications, PlanningWorks, Nike Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Horizon Foundation, and Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation.
Grantee Partners: Acumen Fund, City Year – New York, Common Good Ventures, International Women’s Health Coalition, National Institute for Reproductive Health, PHI, REDF, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Young People For.
Over the course of 2005, the trustees, staff and grantees of the Woodcock Foundation took stock of the increasingly complicated and crowded information/advocacy environment in which not-for-profit organizations are working. We canvassed the organizations we support and heard repeatedly that they needed help understanding and responding to the rapidly changing media environment in which their advocacy efforts take place. They needed, they told us, better tools to BeHeard! Each participating organization was selected on a competitive basis through an application process and was required bring to the table $25,000 from another foundation to contribute to the implementation phase of the program. Starting with a pilot group of five, and later adding a second cohort of four, Woodcock consultants Doug Hattaway and Larry Biddle undertook a communications assessment of each grantee to evaluate communications capacities, advocacy strategies, public awareness, and constituency building. Once the assessments were complete, Woodcock then matched the $25,000 provided by the partnering funder to help implement some of the consultants’ recommendations.
The evaluation, completed in September 2010, discerns and describes the most valuable Lessons Learned from BeHeard and expresses these as narratives – as opposed to strictly numerical outcomes – that can be shared with others. We hope that this evaluation will serve as a conversation piece for funders and grantees that will stimulate greater focus on strategic communications.