The Nonprofiteer, commenting on the notion that charities should serve as laboratories, demonstrating programs that can then be taken over by government or business:
Charities can’t serve as laboratories for anything. The main product of any laboratory is failure–and, as the current craze for evaluation demonstrates, most donors will tolerate nothing less than triumph. Perhaps the charitable sector does have something to learn from business, after all–that the only way to generate return is to run risk.
Used properly, evaluation is a great idea. Used as it’s actually used, it’s mostly a way to stifle innovation. What the gods (or, in this case, the holders of the purse-strings) wish to destroy, they first evaluate.