The year is almost over but it’s not too late to create the most effective evaluation plan your program has ever had. In fact, now is the perfect time to use evaluation to reflect back on the past year and plan for the coming year. All you need is one program metric and a willing team.
Let’s do it.
One of the risks when developing an evaluation plan, is developing measures without being really clear about what kind of measure they are or how we’re going to use them to understand our program. In this post, I’m going to talk about process measures (AKA outputs) and outcome measures — how they are different from each other and how they are both useful in understanding a program.
When evaluating your programs, you may want to consider two kinds of measures: process measures and outcome measures. Process measures help you assess what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it, and they are evaluated while the program is in progress. Outcome measures evaluate the effect the program has/had on its target population (its impact), and they can be assessed during or after the program is complete.
In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that the further outcomes are in time, the harder it is to collect that outcome data. For example, if your program provides tutoring services to middle schoolers that are intended to increase their college attendance rates, it will be very challenging — and take a long time — to…
Many nonprofits are looking at performance management as a way to improve their ability to provide services and to use data intentionally for strategic planning. Here, when I say performance management system, I mean the collection of process and outcome measures that your organization collects and its approach to using those measures in strategic decision-making.…
Now that you have developed a logic model (check out this post if you still need some help, or download my logic model guide), you might be wondering how to integrate your data collection plans with it. If your logic model is clear, using it to build an evaluation plan will be pretty straightforward.
I help mission-based organizations measure their impact so that they can do what they do well. I started my nonprofit career as a teacher in workforce development and adult basic education. It was important work and I was worried that we didn’t really know if we were doing it well. In the process of trying to answer that question, I got a Masters in Education and a PhD in Social Policy, and became an evaluator.