NON-PROFIT PROGRAM EVALUATION TIPS
There are those who believe that program evaluation is overly emphasized and isn't particularly important. However, as a non-profit, how can you know for sure that a program being implemented is actually achieving its' goals ? Through program evaluation and the measurement of outcomes, management can be provided with a framework for analyzing areas of the program that are actually working and others (areas) that are not.
There are many types of program evaluation methodologies. Some of the main types comprise Goal Based Evaluation, Process Based Evaluation and Outcomes Based Evaluation. The type of goal desired from an evaluation exercise will determine the approach/methodology to be opted for.
In order to carry out an efficient program evaluation, the following factors should be considered;
1) Level of Evaluation:
Under the level of evaluation, the goal is to gain information from program beneficiaries. The main types of information targeted includes the reactions and feelings of beneficiaries, their perceptions or attitudes and changes in skills and effectiveness of the program. In essence, an effort is made to determine if beneficiaries have experienced an improvement in their circumstances because of access to facilities of skills provided under the program.
Getting information on reactions, feelings and effectiveness of the program can be challenging due to the ephemeral nature of feelings. Despite its' taxing nature, attaining information on feelings, perceptions or attitudes and changes in skills and effectiveness of the program will help in generating a holistic view of performance measurement outcomes.
2) Analysis of Information Obtained:
When analyzing data/information obtained during the information gathering phase, an essential step is to begin with the goal(s) of the evaluation. For instance, is the program evaluation being carried out as a means of finding out about lessons learned? Carrying out this step will help in organizing data obtained while narrowing it(data) for much more accurate and relevant analysis.
3). Interpretation of Information Obtained:
After analyzing information obtained, the next step is to put it into perspective. Basically, it should be compared to the goals/ objectives of the program. Furthermore, it is generally helpful to include recommendations or suggestions for improving future programs that have similar objectives. Finally, interpretations and recommendations ought to be but in a report format and filed.
Considering the level of evaluation, analyzing and interpreting information obtained will yield desired evaluation goals that inform management about the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of a program.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an International Development Professional. She serves as a Consultant to Non-Profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.
Basic Guide to Program Evaluation. Retrieved August 28th from