Evaluation Basics: What Evaluation is and How to Use It - Multi-part Virtual Training

Wednesday, September 18, 10:00 AM - Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 12:00 PM
Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Join both days, Sep 18 and 19
Virtual TrainingLive - Online
Fee: $89 for MCN members / $139 for nonmembers
Everyone has experienced evaluation in some form. But would you like to know more about what evaluation is and how you can use it to increase your program’s impact? 
Evaluation can give us insights about our work, stories to share with others and ideas to strengthen our programs and their impact. Done thoughtfully, evaluation also can provide the chance to engage stakeholders in new and meaningful ways. Join The Improve Group for this two-part virtual training to learn how to incorporate evaluation into your work. 
As a result of participating in this training, you will:
  • Understand the basics of what evaluation is,
  • Understand the different reasons people choose to evaluate, and
  • Recognize different approaches to evaluation.
Participants will leave this workshop armed with a place to start evaluating one of their programs and resources for digging deeper into evaluation.

Participant feedback

“Sharing an overview of methods really helped open my mind to the possibilities out there for evaluation.”
“I loved the online format! This was great and easy for me to participate.”

Technology requirements

This training is hosted in Adobe Connect. You will need a computer with a reliable high-speed internet connection to participate in the training. (While Adobe Connect does have a mobile app, its functionality is limited and does not support all the engagement tools that we use during virtual trainings. Therefore, we do not recommend using a smartphone or tablet to view the training.)

Audio is available via your computer or your phone; choose the audio connection that provides you with the best sound quality. Please note: Using your computer for audio can sometimes negatively affect your experience, particularly if your Wi-Fi signal is not strong or your broadband connection is slow. Therefore, we highly recommend that you have access to a phone which can serve as a back-up audio method during the training. We cannot issue refund or reschedule a training for you if you are not prepared with a back-up audio method (phone).

Information about how to log into this training will emailed to you at least two days before it begins. If you don’t receive this email, please first check your spam folder, then contact


What if I have a conflict with one of the three parts? Each session builds upon the previous session. Therefore, if you have a conflict with one or more of the parts, we recommend not registering for this training.
Will the session be recorded? Because of the highly interactive nature of this training, which will include ongoing conversation via chat and polls, it will not be recorded.
Can registrations be shared? To achieve the best possible learning outcomes during this training, each participant needs to have their own connection to the virtual classroom, which means registrations can't be shared. Participants will be actively engaging with the trainer via chat and polls, and thus each needs to have their own keyboard, computer, and connection to the training. 

About the trainers

This session will be led by The Improve Group’s experts in evaluation capacity building. The Improve Group is a St. Paul-based, international consulting firm focused on research, evaluation, and strategic planning. The Improve Group team has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, including building the capacity for evaluation with many of these clients. For nearly 20 years they have been helping nonprofits measure and demonstrate impact, which in turn leads to improved services, innovation and increased ability to build support.

Sara McGarraugh is a Managing Consultant at The Improve Group, a St. Paul-based, international firm focused on evaluation, research, and strategic planning. Sara loves seeing the spark in people when they learn something new that can help their work. For Sara, it’s even better when the tip they learned makes work easier. Sara enjoys capacity building because it helps her examine and find gaps in her knowledge, bringing new depth to her practice; as people question what they are learning, Sara explores it through a new perspective. Sara’s strengths as a trainer spring from her optimism, pragmatism, and emphasis on collaboration. She believes most evaluation challenges can be solved by putting multiple heads together. Sara draws on experience across more than 40 projects with different clients and needs, but she always brings a dose of humility as a trainer because she knows the right answer isn’t always hers. If you run into Sara, ask her about Excel tips—she enjoys teaching people the small ways to be organized and use information to save a lot of time.

Audrey McIntyre is an Associate Consultant at The Improve Group, a St. Paul-based, international firm focused on evaluation, research, and strategic planning. As a trainer, Audrey enjoys explaining tough concepts in a simple way, and then seeing participants “get it” and become excited about evaluation. She believes in evaluation as a tool to support important work solving big problems and sees training as a way to help people realize this potential. 

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