Knowledge Advisory Group

Measurement Methods

The Best Parade Ever

In 2013, I had the honor of attending the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

If you’re not familiar with drug courts, I encourage you to learn about them. They provide an innovative and intensive approach blending clinical treatment with criminal justice for substance-abusing offenders.

Program evaluation studies, consistently show that these programs create better outcomes, such as decreased recidivism, and greater cost-effectiveness, than traditional criminal justice approaches.

As a researcher who sometimes works with drug court programs, I’ve reviewed the studies carefully and the quantitative evidence is largely convincing. Drug courts… Learn more

Can Program Evaluation Improve Your Fundraising Success? Yes It Can!

In the nearly twenty years that I’ve been an evaluator, there’s one reason I hear over and over again for why some nonprofits (and other organizations) shy away from program evaluation:

“Oh, we don’t need to do an evaluation. We know we’re doing great things!”

My reply is always the same:

“I’m sure you are doing lots of great things…but can you prove it? And do you know what you need to do to make more great things happen?”

One of the benefits of conducting an evaluation is the positive impact it can have on fundraising success. An evaluation… Learn more

What if the news is bad?

As an evaluator, I’m often faced with the following question.

“I want to be able to demonstrate my results because I think we’re doing great things, but…what if the news is bad?”

Let’s imagine, for instance, that children in elementary school don’t receive grades for reading. When your daughter, who is a bright, generous, fun-loving child, begins her first day of middle school, you receive a phone call from the principal’s office. “Mrs. Smith, we’ve discovered that your child is unable to read.”

Let’s analyze that scenario for the moment with a few questions:

  1. Is this information that you feel… Learn more

It’s a Big World Out There

Recently, I traveled for the first time to Canada. I’ve been out of the country before, but I’m not a frequent international traveler. On this particular trip, I was on my own and therefore freed of certain worries, such as where I’d stashed my son’s passport or my husband’s growling stomach as I zoomed through Concourse B of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport to catch a connecting flight. So, I was able to take a little time during this journey to notice all the small details that air travel entails.

In an era of advanced technology and terrorism, the… Learn more

How Can Measurement & Evaluation Help My Organization?

Someone remarked to me the other day, “Oh, I think measurement is great; it helps a lot of companies figure out what they are doing well and not so well and helps them plan, but I’m not sure I understand how it can help us.” I thought about that comment and realized that people in many organizations probably feel the same way. They’ve heard of other organizations’ success with measurement initiatives, but they just aren’t sure how it can help them be successful, too. From my experience, measurement and evaluation can help every type of organization. Consider the following examples:… Learn more

Everything Old Is New Again: Building Evaluation Capacity Within Nonprofit Organizations

I just recently came across a post that I wrote about a year ago for the American Evaluation Association’s AEA 365 A Tip-A-Day by and for Evaluators blog. If you have any interest in evaluation or measurement-related issues, the Tip-A-Day series is an excellent resource that chock-full of helpful information, from texts, resources, websites, methods, technologies, and more.

Be sure to check it out. Beyond that, the blog post reminded me to send another shout out for one of my favorite evaluation books: Building Evaluation Capacity: 72 Activities for Teaching and Training. Check out the full post for more… Learn more

Set Your Destination for Eval Central

Just this week, I discovered a fantastic new resource for program evaluators, or anyone else who geeks out on real-world research like me. 

Eval Central is the place “Where Evaluation Blogs Intersect”, including great contributors such as the American Evaluation Association, EvalThoughts, and Evaluation Unsanctioned, as well as feeds from foundations and agencies around the globe.  I’m officially hooked and hope we will be adding our own For Good Measure blog to the site soon.

Don’t miss this resource for all things evaluation!

“Comprehensive data allowed management changes to be made more rapidly, leading to a leaner and more effective organization.” ~ American Red Cross, Richmond Chapter

“They were able to determine a ROI figure to help define the value proposition of our program.” ~ Virginia Economic Development Partnership

“The assessment allowed me to deliver a monumental, sea-change, amount of information to the organization with data to back me up.” ~ American Red Cross, Richmond Chapter

“Trina’s interviewing technique is a more effective way to uncover staff issues and ineffective procedures.” ~ Senior Connections, Area Agency on Aging

"The third party review added credibility.” ~ Virginia Economic Development Partnership

“The project more than paid for itself in the short-term.” ~ American Red Cross, Richmond Chapter

“I was spending 2-4 hours per week dealing with staff issues that have now been removed.” ~ Senior Connections, Area Agency on Aging

“We never received a report better than this one.” ~ Virginia Economic Development Partnership

"The Knowledge Advisory Group exceeded our expectations. They provided a solid grasp on what we achieved, along with additional framework for designing and measuring future programs."    ~Virginia Community Capital

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