Planning and Evaluation
Whether it is improving policy, informing the public or stimulating civic life, Pew seeks tangible results by pursuing specific measurable goals. Pew is committed to a rigorous, analytical and evidence-based approach to its work.
Planning & Evaluation (P&E) is an important part of this approach. P&E’s role is to inform critical institutional and programmatic decision making, strengthen the design and implementation of Pew’s initiatives, and generate broadly accessible knowledge that advances Pew’s programmatic objectives.
Director Lester W. Baxter highlights P&E's work in Pew Prospectus 2011.
Getting the strategy right upfront is critical. Serving as an objective and thoughtful advisor to Pew’s program staff, P&E helps ensure that the organization’s projects are grounded in the best available research and knowledge; are based on a clear and achievable design; and have a reasonable prospect of leading to meaningful progress on an important social problem within a realistic timeframe.
P&E works with staff to meet ongoing planning needs once a project launches. The unit provides staff with a wide range of planning tools and approaches; supports the refinement or redirection of programs and projects; promotes institutional collaboration; and identifies and engages internal and external expertise to address knowledge gaps.
By working on critical institutional planning efforts, P&E also supports Pew’s board and senior management team in setting the overall strategic direction of the organization.
Pew’s mission creates a strong role for evaluation, which is about improving effectiveness, informing decisions, and generating knowledge. Evaluation encourages us to apply the same rigor and objectivity in reviewing programs in the field as do Pew’s board and staff when deciding how to effectively deploy Pew’s resources.
Evaluation’s role at Pew is to improve program effectiveness, inform institutional and programmatic decisions, and generate knowledge that strengthens Pew as an organization. Fulfilling this role provides Pew with the following benefits: a source of purposeful learning that leads to improved programs and projects; high quality, independent, and objective information to help guide strategic decisions about the direction of programs and initiatives, including decisions to continue, expand, or withdraw from specific lines of work; and a developing body of lessons that helps Pew become a stronger organization.
P&E supports institutional learning and knowledge sharing.by ensuring that staff has access to information that meets their needs to design, implement, and manage high performing strategies, initiatives, and projects. The Research Services group within P&E provides research and reference support for all staff, whether through scanning online databases, creating in-depth reports from print and electronic resources or mining Pew’s archives. Research Services also manages libraries in both the Washington, DC and Philadelphia offices.
Pew University (Pew U) is the institution’s ongoing staff education program that offers professional skill development and opportunities to brainstorm and share knowledge with colleagues. Pew U promotes frank conversation about our successes, challenges and lessons learned. As well, Pew is committed to sharing this knowledge externally, through publications, participation in professional associations and one-on-one assistance to our peers.
A complete listing of Planning and Evaluation staff (including contact information) can be found on our Board and Staff page.