Hi! It’s Tuesday, again.
I was thinking–If evaluation is an everyday activity, why does it FEEL so monumental–you know–over whelming, daunting, aversive even
I can think of several reasons for that feeling:
- You don’t know how.
- You don’t want to (do evaluation).
- You have too much else to do.
- You don’t like to (do evaluation).
- Evaluation isn’t important.
- Evaluation limits your passion for your program.
All those are good reasons. Yet, in today’s world you have to show your programs are making a difference. You have to provide evidence of impact. To do that (show impact, making a difference) you must evaluate your program.
How do you make your evaluation manageable? How do you make it an everyday activity? Here are several ways.
- Set boundaries around what you evaluate.
- Limit the questions to ones you must know. Michael Patton says only collect data you are going to use, then use it. (To read more about evaluation and use, see Patton’s book, Utilization-Focused Evaluation).
- Evaluate key programs, not every program you conduct.
- Identify where your passion lies and focus your evaluation efforts there.
- Start small. You probably won’t be able to demonstrate that your program ensured world peace; you will be able to know that your target audience has made an important change in the desired direction.
We can talk more about the how, later. Now it is enough to know that evaluation isn’t as monumental as you thought.