Are you concerned about the quality of evaluation data you are getting? Do you wish you had deeper insights from your community and more authentic data? Evaluations frequently suffer from lack of depth around community engagement, which can limit the value of the findings. Over the years, The Improve Group has developed a Community-Responsive Approach (CRA) that ensures the unique perspectives of all affected communities and stakeholder groups can be represented in every phase of the evaluation process.
A key assumption in community-responsive evaluation is that people hold different kinds of expertise (community, cultural, technical, issue-specific, organizational, etc.) that are all valuable to the evaluation process. This approach helps organizations overcome traditional barriers to evaluation, such as negative experiences with extractive research or distrust from community members. By being responsive to each community’s distinct characteristics and by involving individual community stakeholders in an evaluation design, you are more likely to hear authentic experiences, concerns, and results.
Throughout this training we will dive into the following questions you should consider when conducting evaluation within your community.
- Why is it important to include community in your evaluation?
- Who in your community could/should be included? How can those groups be identified?
- When in the evaluation cycle should you include your community? When gathering data, what considerations should you take about the best times to work with your community?
- Where can evaluation activities take place so that community members feel engaged and comfortable?
- How can you engage community members to achieve reliable results and increased participation?
- What will community members gain from participating in the evaluation?
Participants will walk away with tangible strategies for engaging their community in evaluation that build on their own knowledge and experiences and are specific to their unique community contexts.
Principles & Practices
This workshop helps us achieve the following best practices, as highlighted in the Principles & Practices for Nonprofit Excellence:
- EVAL 2: Nonprofit programs should take into account and respond to the experience, needs and satisfaction of the constituents they serve.
- EVAL 3: Nonprofits should conduct program evaluations in ways that are culturally sensitive and appropriate for the community served.
- EVAL 14: Nonprofits should share evaluation results with a broad range of constituents to demonstrate the organization’s impact, the community’s ongoing need and the lessons learned.
- EVAL 16: Nonprofits should be open to receiving feedback from members of the public who are interested in the organization’s effectiveness.
- LEAD 17: Nonprofit leaders should encourage their organization’s staff and board to seek out, recognize and leverage the shared and different values of diverse cultures.
Refreshments: Coffee, tea and a light snack will be provided.
Travel: Driving directions and transit options are available on MCN's website.
About the Presenters
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.