Bars Are for Pitchers, Not Pitching

In a world where work can’t start until a cat is ejected from someone’s keyboard, private in-person business meetings are as rare as carbon paper. But a chat behind (real) closed doors is something that should not be lost entirely to the mists of time. In pre-pandemic 2019 I was an accidental witness to a […]

Prevail in Local Level Policy Change by Maintaining the Narrative Upper Hand

Even in the best of times, proposals to change local services – such as roads and schools – are often controversial. And this, of course, is far from the best of times. Opponents of specific public works projects find ready allies in residents who are unnerved by changes to the city or neighborhood status quo […]

Politicians and Cow Manure: Voters Harmed by Corporate Polluters Urge Candidates to Take a Stand

From before the United States even existed, political actors sought to get the narrative upper hand. No less a figure than Paul Revere forged public opinion with this propaganda image about the Boston Massacre. The engraving (a print from which is in the collection of the Concord Museum) helped inflame New Englanders’ sentiments against London’s […]

Learning and Adapting on the Statewide Election Trail

Political campaigns were among the many activities of normal life upended by the sudden emergence of COVID-19 in the winter of 2020. State and local campaigns, which often turn on successful door-to-door voter contact, were particularly affected. In a Talking Points Memo piece co-authored with David Shorr, an evaluation colleague and local elected official, I […]

Grantee-led Evaluation for Better Learning

In this post for Center for Effective Philanthropy, my colleague David Shorr and I argue that advocacy organizations and their funders learn best when the advocates themselves are supported to measure progress on their highest-priority issues and concerns. Focusing on what grantees want to learn helps ensure that measurement is consistently incorporated into advocacy grantees’ […]

Welcome to Cog & Gear

A strong evaluation or measurement plan positions you to make the most of policy opportunities. It prepares you to better manage unforeseen challenges. And it helps you meet the information needs of your management, board, and funders efficiently, and with less stress. A good measurement plan creates tools and systems that generate meaningful data, while […]