This evaluation analyses the outcomes and impact of The One Foundation's investments in NGOs working in the Irish policy context to advance the following advocacy goals:

i) make children's rights real;
ii) make immigrant rights real;
iii) build political will on mental health in Ireland.

In a ten-year timeframe, 2004-13, The One Foundation (OF) invested €75 million, of which approximately €15 million (20%) supported direct advocacy work. The report draws on meetings with OF Team and Advisory Board members, interviews with grantees and 'bellwethers' (key informants with insights into the policy change process), and desk research (OF and grantee records). The evaluation uses a case study approach and a common framework of analysis to assess effectiveness in the three policy areas with a focus on how the work contributed to incremental wins towards achievement of ultimate advocacy goals.
  • Philanthropic support of advocacy can enhance policy-making processes.
  • Supporting advocacy can be risky and time consuming but, if successful, can generate significant longer-term impact.
  • Achieving policy change takes time and funders need to be patient.
  • Sectoral coalitions, while ideal for advocacy, are not always possible.
  • A dedicated advocacy organisation representing member organisations in a given sector enhances advocacy impact.
  • Credible data communicated with real-life examples, propels advocacy.
  • Leadership is critical to successful advocacy.
  • Advocacy capacity is enhanced when organisations review performance regularly, learn from mistakes, match tactic to opportunity and alter approaches accordingly.
  • Supporting rigour of management, analysis and evaluation in NGOs ultimately supports the achievement of their goals.
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