Why Evaluation Plans are Critical
As the non-profit sector is continuing to put a heavier emphasis on evaluation, many organizations are finding ways to prove their numbers served and services delivered. While most organizations have an overall "vision" or end-goal to reach, those impacts can be difficult to measure. How do you get from measuring the number of people you serve to proving the change you make in the community?
While evaluation plans themselves cannot tell you what difference your organization makes in the world, they can guide you to begin measuring the actual change your organization is making.
Take afterschool tutoring programs for example; they may provide 100 hours a week of tutoring to students, but that number does not show the difference they make in the lives of students, in the school, or in the community. These programs can show their outcomes by measuring increases in GPA's or test scores, assessing whether students are more engaged in learning than before they started tutoring, etc. The impacts measured could include supporting increased graduation rates, matriculation into post-secondary education, or the schools' increased involvement of community volunteers.
With so many different directions evaluation can go, a plan is important to help:
Prioritize evaluation efforts to focus on what really matters for your programs
Ensure the same outputs, outcomes, and impacts are measured year-to-year
Increase accountability of your evaluation through selection of staff responsible and timelines
I’m Amanda Wallander Roberts, MSSW, a consultant passionate about building fundraising and evaluation capacity with social organizations. I’ve helped over 60 social organizations fundraise and evaluate programs, including raising over $22million, and developing more than 50 logic models, evaluation plans, and process maps. Learn more about my services or contact me for support today!