It’s all too common for nonprofit leaders and staff to dread evaluation, and who can blame them? It would be hard to get excited about something that has historically been an overwhelming and resource-draining headache, and that’s exactly what you can expect from poorly planned and executed evaluation. The good news is that program evaluation can be easy – and even exciting!
You’re probably passionate about your organization and excited about the impact it makes on your stakeholders. If we break it down, program evaluation really just boils down to the way you collect and analyze data in order to answer questions about your program and its impact. Plus, effective evaluation can pack a powerful punch for your organization.
Let’s take a look at three reasons why evaluation matters to nonprofit teams.
1. Understand, measure, and communicate the value of your programs.
When you have clarity on your program’s purpose, you can ensure that your day-to-day activities are always in support of that long-term goal. No more spinning wheels with what seems like little to no progress! Program evaluation helps maximize your resources and your efforts based on your big-picture goals by granting you a true understanding of the why, what, how, and who of your program, AND allowing you to effectively communicate those objectives to donors and stakeholders. Win-win!
2. Deliver better services.
We believe that the purpose of program evaluation is to improve – not prove. While much of your data collection to date may have been done to satisfy reporting requirements for your funders, evaluation data can also be an invaluable asset in helping you be the best at what you do. Just imagine how you could increase your impact if you had the data to know when, where, and how to improve your programming in real-time! Program evaluation is the tool that gives your organization the data it needs to do just that. Not only do you get clear on what you’re trying to do and how well you’re doing it, you also gain valuable insight into what is and isn’t working in support of those initiatives.
3. Stand out to funders!
Funders and donors want to invest in organizations that are making the impact they intend to. While positive stories and features from the populations you serve can bring a valuable human element to your work, providing hard data is much more powerful. Large or corporate funders often appreciate the effort and professionalism that accompanies a formal program evaluation, which lends credibility and legitimacy to your organization. Individual donors may not be as worried about the formal evaluation itself, however do still value the information. Your completed program evaluation will serve as the foundation for your messaging allowing you to demonstrate your impact and value to donors of all sizes!
The e-Value8 program democratizes the process of program evaluation by taking the basic principles of the connections between what a program is designed to do, how it operates, and the outcomes it achieves, and making that data accessible to the people actually running programs every day.
Visit standoutnow.org for exclusive access to our free webinar where you will learn how your nonprofit can use program evaluation to improve your value, services, funding, and outcomes – all in just 8 weeks.