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Service Impact Series: Part 3

This Service Impact Series is really getting juicy! I hope you’re gaining a few tools along the way to enhance your nonprofit program or service!


Today we’re getting into the meat and potatoes of Program Evaluation: Measuring Success! It’s one thing to have a goal, and some criteria to determine whether or not you’ve met that goal. It’s another thing altogether to create a systematic way of measuring your progress and impact.


The reason why Measuring Success matters is because the RESULTS of those same measurements are how you indicate to yourself, your staff, your clients/ consumers, potential donors, grantmakers, and other stakeholders that you’re an agency of Integrity & Impact. This is the data that you put into your annual reports, grant applications, Board reports, and giving campaigns.


But where exactly does this data come from, you ask?? Great question! It comes from your Program/ Service Evaluation Plan, which is right here:


  1. How do you KNOW that clients/ consumers are achieving your intended outcomes? Determining a few guiding Program Evaluation Questions is a good place to start. If you need help framing your program/ service evaluation questions, here’s a great link: https://programs.online.american.edu/online-graduate-certificates/project-monitoring/resources/asking-program-evaluation-questions


  1. Now that you’ve established your Program/ Service Evaluation questions, here are a few more things to consider:

  2. Describe the types of data you will collect (quantitative, qualitative, or both), and how often you will collect that data.

  3. Describe who you will collect information from (i.e.: program participants, staff, community members, stakeholders) and how these individuals will be selected to participate in the evaluation.

  4. Explain what data collection tools you will use, how they were chosen (or whether they are created in-house), and how the data produced is intended to answer the evaluation questions. Examples include: Intake Assessments, mid- program evaluations, end of program evaluations, etc.

  5. Explain how stakeholders will participate in the evaluation.

  6. Explain the ethical considerations you are taking into account when conducting the evaluation. Be sure to explain how you are protecting the confidentiality of respondents.

And there you have it! A comprehensive Program/ Service Evaluation Plan! And that’s where all of that rich data comes from, to share your agency story and impact with the world! Ideally, this Program/ Service Evaluation Plan is integrated into your day to day operations and service delivery. That’s the easiest way to ensure that you’re collecting, analyzing, and reporting this data on a regular basis.






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