The Adaptive Planning Toolkit

Addressing complex societal problems requires taking an adaptive approach. Developing comprehensive strategies for how to get to a goal works in some contexts, but these types of plans are often insufficient in the face of a rapidly changing environment. Instead of focusing on strategies, the focus in adaptive planning is on understanding the desired results […]

Tools for Integrating an Equity Lens

Every planning process has “choice points” – those places where decisions made will either increase or decrease equity. But how does one identify those choice points and determine the best course of action? How can we use those choice points to transform our commitment to equity as a value into action?    This toolkit is designed to help groups who tackle complex problems integrate an equity lens into the […]

The Strategic Backbone Toolkit

Collaborating to solve complex problems is not a new approach. In fact, complex problems are rarely addressed by one organization, or even one sector, acting alone. Often, the large scale collaborative work needed to meaningfully address a complex problem depends on one or more organizations to provide ongoing support such as facilitation, convening, research, evaluation, […]

The Strategic Learning Toolkit

Tackling complex problems requires doing work in ways it hasn’t been done before – if what we’ve always done was enough, we wouldn’t be facing the problem! At Spark, we leverage real-time, data-driven learning to steadily adapt our strategies, always focusing on the outcomes. Strategic learning tools and processes offer ways to capitalize on data […]

Data as a Tool for Change

Data can bring a new perspective to the decision-making process, going beyond what people in the room know intuitively. With the right approaches and practices, data can help inform decisions and amplify impact thus better enabling us to get to that meaningful change. This toolkit is designed to help you determine which questions to ask […]

Tools for Complex Decision-Making

Solving complex problems rarely happens among a small group of stakeholders who share many things in common. In fact, when problems cross issue areas, levels of government and even sectors, solutions cannot be found and successfully implemented without engagement from many stakeholders. These stakeholders may or may not define the problem in the same way, […]

Tools for Sustaining Funding for Local Programs

Growing Local Funding is designed to empower non-profits providing critical local services to advocate and engage with funders with a well thought out plan to meet mutual goals. Some of the best and boldest ideas for how to spark change and meet community needs come from the local level; yet, sustaining funding for local direct […]

The Advocate’s Evaluation Toolkit

Advocacy work is intense and often very adaptive, with short-term strategies designed to respond to immediate needs and flexibility in how longer-term strategies are deployed. Because of the nature of advocacy work, taking time to evaluate may feel burdensome. However, evaluation is a powerful tool for learning, improving, and making the case to funders for […]

Tools for Engaging Nontraditional Voices

Nontraditional voices bring an important perspective to the policymaking table. Their experience is often needed to successfully identify and implement solutions to complex problems. Without this perspective, even well-meaning policies often do not have their intended effect because they fail to take into account the lived experience of the members of the community they are […]

Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit

The Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit is a resource to help farm to school programs of all sizes undertake evaluation. Evaluation can serve many purposes for farm to school programs, including helping demonstrating a program’s success or progress. Evaluation information allows for better communication of a program’s impact to funders, parents, school leadership, and other […]