Event Details


Engaging Communities in Evaluation: How to Promote Equity and Inclusion for Meaningful Results

Wednesday, October 14, 09:00 AM - Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12:00 PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Fee: $50 for MCN members / $85 for nonmembers

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 that embraces the unique perspectives of all stakeholders and community groups through 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.  

This workshop is done in partnership with Common Good Vermont, the Kentucky Nonprofit Network, the Maine Association of Nonprofits, the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and Washington Nonprofits. 

Speaker Information

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. For nearly 20 years The Improve Group’s consultants have been helping nonprofits measure and demonstrate impact, which in turn leads to improved services, innovation, and increased support. The Improve Group team has worked with hundreds of nonprofits and helped many of them build their internal capacity for designing and carrying out evaluations. With a team approach to developing training, The Improve Group draws on a broad range of on-the-ground experiences, providing participants applicable tips and examples of why and how to conduct evaluations in their organizations.

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