Chicago Foundation for WomenEvaluation, Strategic Planning
This case study highlights PIE’s unique ability to blend research and reporting expertise into external documents in support of new organizational strategy.
In May 2021, after a year of lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Foundation for Women began a focused campaign called SHEcovery™, to raise support for women who had been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The foundation was interested in distributing a formalized publication in support of this initiative, which would present research findings on the impacts of the pandemic as it related to women, and especially women of color. The publication would help illustrate the urgent need for support in four areas of interest to the foundation: Getting Women Back to Work, Addressing the Eviction Crisis, Caring for Caregivers, and Demanding an Anti-Racist Healthcare System. PIE was contracted to lead the project, pulling together research, crafting the narrative, designing the report, and partnering with the foundation to produce additional copy to round out the message for the appropriate constituents and outlets.
Similar to all other projects, PIE began with a thorough review to prepare. PIE combed through previous reports and the preliminary SHEcovery™ copy in order to get an understanding of the messaging tied to the campaign and identify areas of alignment as well as capitalize on any copy that could be used in the current report. We also did an initial probe into available research in the areas of interest and discovered that there was a larger body of research available at the national level; local area statistics on the pandemic’s effects were not readily available across all areas of intertest. As a result, we shifted the report focus from being centered exclusively on Chicago women, to focusing on the national story with supporting local grantee stories, and local statistics where available. PIE then did a comprehensive review of available research with the desired message in mind and presented the research, along with a proposed report structure and design concept to CFW for approval before diving into crafting the report.
After gaining a strong understanding of what is needed and creating a plan for execution, PIE works with clients to develop the tool or product to satisfy their unique needs. This phase of the project included weekly meetings where PIE would deliver iterations and receive feedback and incorporate recommendations from the leadership team at CFW and its communication consultants.. For each area of interest, the report took on a structure of presenting the issue, illustrating the problem with research and statistics, telling a story of how grantees are tackling these issues locally, and finally explaining how CFW and the SHEcovery™ initiative plan to address the problem at hand. Over the course of several months, the final report was created and shared widely through various outlets connected to the campaign.
Learn & Improve
As with all projects, learning and improving is an important result of our work. Creating this report for CFW helped the team review both national and local data, which allowed them to orient their work in the national landscape. Additionally, CFW understood that the issues being addressed weren’t new, but only exacerbated by the pandemic, and the research gave them a strong reassurance that their work was indeed critical to improving conditions for women now more than ever.
Throughout the report building, PIE met regularly with the team to discuss the importance of mixed-methods reporting and the power of connecting national trends to local stories. Here, PIE supported data literacy processes and evaluative thinking, which helped CFW make connections between national statics, local needs, and the pillars of their initiative.