In this video, I talk about some changes in federal funding that have affected one of my clients, as well as many other programs like Head Start. The Obama Administration is putting a greater emphasis on evaluation and accountability and that probably isn’t going to change, no matter who is President in January 2013.
This matters for small and mid-sized nonprofits even if you receive no federal or state money. Because trends trickle down, I expect that individual donors and small private and community foundations will soon be expecting a higher standard of evidence showing that programs are successful.
This is a controversial topic, with lots of unknowns and scary monsters hiding in closets. However, the positive take away is that there is time to work on your performance measurement and evaluation systems. You’re not in this alone.
Today’s video uses Hallie Preskill’s brilliant Chocolate Chip Cookie exercise to show how you already do evaluation in your daily life. Watch the video, share the exercise with your staff, and start thinking about ways to evaluate your nonprofit’s programs.
In this video, I give my very brief definition of nonprofit program evaluation. In my view, evaluation is not:
- Financial auditing
Other definitions that I talk about are:
- The American Evaluation Association’s definition: “Evaluation involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organizations to improve their effectiveness.”
- An unattributed definition: “Evaluation = Research + Valuing”
My definition is much more simple:
Evaluation is measuring progress towards program goals.
In future videos, I will show how we all engage in evaluation daily and how beginning to evaluate your nonprofit’s programs is not nearly as scary as you might think!