Research and Consulting Services
The RGK Center partners with nonprofit and public sector clients on projects that benefit from rigorous academic review and professional management by RGK Center faculty. Research and consulting services to investigate a particular topic or problem can be designed as
- Large-scale research or evaluation studies
- Policy Research Projects (PRPs)
- Consulting, speaking or support services
For more information and examples of research and consulting service projects, see below. Contact us if you have a project you'd like to discuss.
RGK faculty members work with clients and partners on nonprofit sector research projects such as program evaluations, needs assessments, and community mapping projects.
AmeriCorps*Texas Statewide Evaluation
The goal of this evaluation was to describe the impact that AmeriCorps state and national programs have on Texas communities and analyze why some programs produce more benefits than others. Findings identified organizational and management structures most commonly associated with successful, value-adding programs. The project was funded by the OneStar Foundation.
Jewish Federations of North America Service Learning Evaluation
This evaluation assessed impacts on volunteers participating in Jewish service learning programs in North America, Israel, and other international service locations. Young, Jewish and Working for Change—Jewish Service Learning: An Analysis of Participant Jewish Identity and Program Characteristics included pre- and post-participation surveys of almost 700 volunteers and a comparison group of over 200 non-participants to assess impacts on participants working in a diverse group of programs. The study has implications for service learning recruitment strategies in programs that aim to strengthen their participants’ ethnic or cultural ties and cultivate the next generation of community leaders and donors.
I Live Here I Give Here Evaluation
RGK faculty designed a two-phase research study to investigate the impact of I Live Here I Give Here, the Central Texas Campaign for Philanthropy. The RGK team developed indicators for a performance measurement system aligned with campaign goals and collected data from key audiences to assess the campaign’s strategic plan.
National Quality Assessment Tool for Community Service and Volunteer Programs
RGK Center faculty led a multi-year, multi-faceted research project to develop a quality assessment tool for ETR Associates/Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The purpose of the study was to identify key indicators of a well-managed program that uses volunteers or national service participants. Based on research findings, RGK Center faculty developed a scientifically reliable and valid self-evaluation instrument nonprofits can use to measure their community engagement capacity.
Policy research Projects (PRP)
The RGK Center conducts Policy Research Projects (PRPs) that address nonprofit or cross-sectoral issues in community service in collaboration with nonprofit and public sector clients. PRPs are two-semester, six-credit hour courses offered through the LBJ School of Public Affairs that are designed as organized group research projects incorporated into the LBJ School curriculum. PRPs involve teams of 10-20 graduate students working under the direction of faculty members on a specific deliverable or defined problem proposed by a nonprofit or public sector client. PRPs are thus client- and product-oriented and serve as instruments for both learning and public service. To find out more about how to propose a PRP, here.
Examples of RGK PRPs include:
Curtis W. Meadows, Jr. Social Enterprise Fellows
Each year, joint teams of LBJ School graduate students and MBA students from the McCombs School of Business travel to a Latin American or Caribbean country to provide consulting services to a partner NGO with an identified organizational need. Funders for this project have included Ford Motor Company, Reese Jones, and other sources. Read more about the program here.
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc., PRP
The RGK Center’s Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg led a team of graduate students in this multi-phase research project to develop and pilot an outcome measurement system for Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX). This statewide membership association represents 63 centers across the state, providing training, funding, technical assistance and nonprofit management resources. CACTX secured funding for this initiative from the RGK Foundation.
OneStar Foundation PRP
The purpose of this foundation-funded PRP was to research and map the nonprofit sector in Texas, conduct surveys of current and potential OneStar grantees and develop a multi-dimensional performance scorecard of essential metrics for benchmarking.
- Full Report (PDF)
George Foundation PRP
In 2006, and again in 2011, the George Foundation engaged the RGK Center’s Dr. Peter Frumkin to conduct community needs assessments for Fort Bend County to inform the strategic giving priorities of the client. Dr. Frumkin and PRP teams investigated changing areas of need related to the foundation’s mission and presented findings to help set priorities and guide grant-making decisions.
- Full Report (PDF)
Central Texas Nonprofit Capacity Study PRP
A joint project with the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University, this research project for the United Way and the Texas Nonprofit Management Assistance Network focused on the nonprofit and volunteer capacity building “industry” of Central Texas. The project involved a four-stage multi-method research design to gather quantitative and qualitative data about the organizations, individuals, companies and funders that provide resources or support nonprofit capacity building, volunteer management and disaster response in Central Texas.
- Executive Summary (PDF)
- Final Report (PDF)
- Executive Director's Survey Instrument (PDF)
- Volunteer Manager Survey Codebook (PDF)
Consulting, SPEAKING OR SUPPORT SERVICES
RGK faculty members are available for contract consulting projects, speaking engagements, facilitation of board retreats, keynote addresses, and review and recommendation projects. The Center also provides event space and sponsorship on a limited basis. Fees for these services are negotiable. Some examples include:
AARP Office of Academic Affairs and Volunteer Alliances
Organized and sponsored a research colloquium on the New Aging Enterprise, a think-tank event with leading figures on gerontology and age-specific business
Developed logic model and framework for measuring performance of the foundation's Survivorship Summit
Conducted comparative analysis of results from two organizational performance instruments
OneStar Foundation/Taproot Foundation/CaliforniaVolunteers
Conducted statewide surveys to assess community engagement capacity of 400 nonprofits in Texas and California
Directors of Volunteers in Austin (DOVIA)
Delivered keynote address at 2012 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas
Kids in a New Groove
Provided volunteer engagement consultation for nonprofit providing mentoring through music lessons for foster children
Provided venue for BuildASign.com nonprofit fundraising event
Legacy of Giving
Provided venue space for teacher training and orientation