You know that your organization needs an evaluator…but how do you go about it? Hiring the right evaluator can save your organization a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. For many organizations with limited internal capacity, an external evaluator can often produce more accurate, useful, and credible information in a time-efficient manner, as compared to information generated by a staff member without specific evaluation expertise. Learn more
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
“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
When an organization or nonprofit begins participating in an evaluation, some of the vocabulary can be unclear to staff who are newcomers to the process. Understanding evaluation terminology can help you gain a better grasp of the evaluation process, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most important terms and definitions to help you along the way.
New approaches in evaluation have begun to facilitate positive responses and potentially powerful effects on programs.
Determining exactly what is involved in an evaluation can change based on the kind of programs being evaluated.
However, there are several stages any evaluation must work through.
1. Identifying Measures of Success Clarifying the goals of the program and identifying how to measure its success
2. Evaluation Design Designing the research and creating specific,… Learn more
“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:
I don’t plan to use this blog as a political forum, so fear not – this post has nothing to do with my personal opinions on the missions of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood organizations. In addition, I admittedly haven’t read every word written on this subject so I’m speaking a bit off the cuff.
Having said that, as a professional evaluator, I did have a fairly immediate reaction to recent news reports of the Komen Foundation’s decision (and subsequent about-face) to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
As I watched article after article pop up in the… Learn more
In recent years, nonprofit organizations have been encouraged to embrace a new mindset. This groundswell of change invokes terms such as “performance outcomes” and “results measurement,” but focuses on one primary concept: accountability. As funding becomes increasingly competitive, the demands of foundations, government agencies, and benefactors have shifted accordingly. Specifically, the bar is being raised in the service sector, following trends in the corporate environment, for organizations to demonstrate their impacts in clear and meaningful ways.
We know that impact can take many forms: helping others create financial wealth, providing healthy meals that give the gift of better health,… Learn more
People who know me well have heard me say many times that I see evaluation as part science and part art. Armed with markers, flip charts and their imaginations, students in my Outcomes Evaluation class (hosted by Nonprofit Learning Point) discover their preconceived notions about evaluation, envision how it can help to achieve goals, and break through barriers that may be holding them back.
Here’s a little something we created in class last week:
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