20 Questions about Program Evaluation

  1. What is our intended impact?
  2. What are our specific goals?
  3. How will we know if we achieved each of our goals?
  4. What is our organization doing to contribute to that intended impact and those specific goals?
  5. What resources and relationships are needed to achieve our goals?
  6. What internal capacities and skills are needed to achieve our goals?
  7. What internal capacities and skills are needed to conduct the evaluation?
  8. Who will be involved in the evaluation process and what will their responsibilities be?
  9. How will we measure our progress toward our goals?
  10. How will we evaluate process, outputs, and outcomes?
  11. How will we collect data and stories for this evaluation?
  12. What data collection instruments need to be designed?
  13. How will we analyze the information that is collected?
  14. What kinds of information will the evaluation reveal?
  15. How will we use the information that is collected through our evaluation?
  16. How will the results of the evaluation be used to strengthen the program and the organization?
  17. How will we communicate the results of our evaluation?
  18. How is accountability integrated into the culture of our organization?
  19. How are the voices of program participants included in the evaluation process?
  20. How will this evaluation reveal unmet needs and how will the organization respond to these?

My Week: Clearing

I spent a good part of the beginning of this week watching an old, dilapidated building being destroyed. Bit by bit, a Caterpillar claw removed bricks, shingles, and innumerable other items until a pile of rubble remained on the ground. I spend a good part of the end of the week unintentionally removing all of the toxins from my body. Whether I had food poisoning or a virus remains unknown; what I do know is that I have never felt so sick in my entire life.

While the process of clearing out feels icky, messy, and miserable, it is only by doing so that we can create space for new possibilities. The space where the old building once stood will be lovingly filled with a new home for many people. The space inside of my body will be carefully and delicately filled with nourishment until all is healed. Both processes of clearing have also created a positive psychic energy from which a renewed sense of clarity and purpose is emerging for me.

I often have a hard time letting go of old feelings and things, regardless of how heavy and obstructive they truly are to me. These attachments block the flow of energy and a limit my ability to feel free.

The destructive processes that I have witnessed and experienced this week have reminded me of their life affirming dimensions. Like waste that transforms into compost that nourishes a plentiful garden, letting heavy or negative things, ideas, and feelings flow away can lead to a bountiful, flourishing life.

The People Pages: Program Planning and Development

from The People Pages: Resources for Social Change (c) 2003 The Fruition Coalition

  1. Needs Assessment – Conduct research to determine the needs in the community you serve.  Primary research could include interviews, surveys, and focus groups with potential or existing program participants, community leaders, and local residents.  Contact similar programs in your area to find out what they are and aren’t doing.  Ask their staff, volunteers, and participants what they perceive as unmet needs in the community.   If programs have been unwelcome or ineffective, get feedback.  Ask the people who use your services and the staff who implement them what changes they think would be helpful.
  1. Organizational and Program Analysis – Assess your organization’s capacity and determine whether or not growth is appropriate or feasible.  Review recent program activities.  Brainstorm ideas for growth, change, or cutbacks.
  1. Program Planning Decide which programs will continue, which will terminate, and what new programs will be started.  Develop an implementation plan that describes each program’s activities.  Set measurable goals for each program.  Break down each goal into a concrete action plan.  Assign each task in the action plan to a staff or volunteer.  Determine which outcomes will demonstrate whether or not the program has been a success.  Design instruments to collect data.
  1. Analyze Resources – Determine if any staffing changes will need to be made.  Determine if your facilities, technology, and equipment are adequate.
  1. Financial Planning – Develop a budget for each program.  Research and develop diverse sources of funding.  Set prices for participants.
  1. Marketing and Promotion – Publicize your programs and services to the people who will use them through interpersonal interaction, press releases, flyers, newsletters, etc.
  1. Implementation– Deliver programs and services.
  1. Outcomes Measurement – This is the process of collecting and analyzing information to determine whether or not program goals have been achieved.  Collect data and document behaviors, attitudes, and opinions.  Measure changes and patterns in each.  Transcribe data through a software program that can interpret and summarize the collective information.
  1. Program Evaluation – Review results from the outcomes measurement process.  If goals were not achieved, research why this happened.  Figure out ways that programs could be changed to meet goals.
  1. Communicate Results – Share the success of your programs through grant reports, annual reports, your website, and newsletter.