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What If We Ignore the Goals? Nonprofit Organizations & Goal-Free Evaluation

November 18 @ 11:30 AM1:00 PM EST

Brown Bag Lunch & Learn Series // A free series featuring special guest speakers
What If We Ignore the Goals? Nonprofit Organizations & Goal-Free Evaluation

Part of the Johnson Center’s free Brown Bag Lunch & Learn series

Designed for nonprofit practitioners, this presentation led by Dr. Youkers will describe philosophical and practical concerns with assessing programs and services according to predetermined goals and objectives; and then introduces goal-free evaluation (GFE), an evaluation approach in which the evaluator designs and conducts the evaluation without knowledge of or reference to the program’s stated goals.

Along with a discussion of the potential benefits of GFE and how evaluators conduct GFE, participants will reflect on their own organization and programs to consider GFE’s relevance as well as whether, when, and/or how GFE might be applied.

We’ll cover:

  • GFE’s underlying philosophy and principles
  • Various methods evaluators use when conducting GFE
  • The pros and cons of using GFE within your own organization

This online workshop will be a live, interactive experience. It will not be recorded or available to registrants after the end of the live session.
Photo: Brandon Youker
Brandon Youker, Ph.D., has roughly 25 years of experience practicing social work for nonprofit organizations domestically and internationally. Following his master’s in social work from Columbia University, he worked in international development as a program manager in Denmark and Zambia and as a medical social worker. He also was a clinical social worker and research assistant through a fellowship at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Youker received his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Evaluation from Western Michigan University and subsequently conducted numerous program evaluations for West Michigan area nonprofits in education and health, human, and social services primarily as an independent evaluation consultant. Dr. Youker joined Grand Valley State University in 2012 where he teaches macro social work courses such as program evaluation, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and grantwriting. Dr. Youker is considered the world’s foremost scholar on goal-free evaluation.


November 18
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
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Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
201 Front Ave SW, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States