Once upon a time there was a small, but mighty organization whose skilled and dedicated staff worked tirelessly. They provided exceptional programs, services, and/or community benefit. The end.
As unsatisfying as this story is, this is the sort of tale told when evaluation is left out; you only see part of the picture.
Unfortunately, budgetary constraints, lack of time, inexperience, aversion to hard truths, or simply undervaluing evaluation are all reasons it may be undertaken superficially or get missed all together.
What do we mean by evaluation?
Evaluation is about asking the right questions, and involves collecting information to make an informed decision. It’s a helpful tool that can take many forms, such as summative, formative, developmental, process, outcomes, and impact. And it can be valuable at the beginning, middle or end of a project/program.
Some of the reasons we suggest evaluating a project/program are:
- To monitor whether it is meeting its goals and objectives
- To monitor whether it is being implemented as planned
- To understand how it works to achieve change
- To learn and make improvements
- To ensure it is an efficient use of public expenditure
- To ensure it is appropriate for the participants
Without evaluation vital questions regarding value, importance, performance, outcomes, and impact can go unasked. As a result, opportunities for correction, redirection and improvement may get missed. Additionally, the right evaluation process can produce a ton of other benefits too. Such benefits include knitting teams closer together, and fostering a growth mindset and learning culture.
With these evaluation benefits in mind, perhaps you’re wondering how to get started. If so, be sure to check out my blog in the next newsletter, part two of “Telling Better Stories Through Evaluation.” In it, I’ll walk you through a straight forward process for planning and implementing an evaluation that is right for your organization or project.
In the meantime, contact Kim [at] whistlercentre.ca to learn more about our evaluation services and how we can tailor them to meet your needs.