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Evaluation

Are you making a difference?

If you work in the not-for-profit world, you are driven by a desire to actively participate in making the world better, fairer, and more just.

But in the back of your mind, you’re always wondering: am I? Is the work that my organization does moving the needle on any of the large and complex issues we’re dealing with?

You might also be asking if the volunteers you’re recruiting, funds you’re raising, and long hours you’re putting in are adding up to anything.

Or you might know that your actions are making a difference – you just struggle with articulating that difference when asked.

Either way, your ultimate goal is the same: You want to demonstrate how the work you and your organization are doing is making the world a better place.

Why? There are so many reasons to put your work on display, including

  • attracting funds and awards
  • developing a better understanding of your inputs, processes, and outputs
  • responding to stakeholders
  • motivating staff and volunteers
  • satisfying current funders

Whether you’re working hard to solve food insecurity, raise literacy rates, decrease income inequality, increase access to education, or any other noble pursuit, we can likely agree that you are doing so with a stretched budget, unstable funding, and looooong, sometimes unpaid hours. You are mission-driven, and do this work because of who you are deep down: a helper.

Still, you and your stakeholders want to understand how the work that your organization is doing is impacting your clients.

This sounds like a big task, and it is. It requires us to go on a Nancy Drew-style sleuthing mission, finding the people, programs, and systems being affected by your work. We do this through qualitative (in-depth interviews, participant observations, focus groups, insight groups, and more) and quantitative (numbers) research. Forget to put baseline measures in place to gather those pesky numbers? You’ll be surprised at the varied information we can find, and at how easy it is to put systems in place to gather evidence going forward.

Think back to your school days. Did you have to take exams at the end of the semester? I bet you did. Did you ever wonder if one exam was a fair assessment of your knowledge? Me, too. Exam responses are an output, and the grade is an outcome. But the picture hasn’t been painted completely if the grader hasn’t seen the input, or your effort. A strong evaluation should account for inputs, outputs, outcomes, and evidence. In other words, perhaps we should have been graded on time spent learning, the notes we took, the flashcards we made, the study groups we put together, and the final exam.

Perhaps you’ve wondered if you have the capacity to collect qualitative and quantitative information.

Though you’ve known in your head, heart, or gut that you’re making a difference, you have a hard time explaining the impact of your work to those who ask. Hard time no more, friend, because when we work together you will learn how to please the bean counters and the storytellers.

Hard time no more, friend, because when we work together you will learn how to please the bean counters and the storytellers. You’ll learn how to tell a story that touches the listener’s heart while communicating the phenomenal difference that you make.

Does it still feel too overwhelming? Like you wouldn’t know where to begin? Some of our clients have these same fears – that they didn’t set a baseline earlier, that they don’t have time to evaluate, or that they aren’t “numbers people.” “My work is focused on people, and people aren’t numbers.” (I agree.) Maybe you have a deep-seated fear that evaluating your work will reveal that you’re not doing it right or not doing enough.

This is where we come in, with a commitment to strengths-based, mixed methods evaluation. Though each consultation is as unique as the organization that commissions it, all evaluation projects include:

  • Co-creating an evaluation plan, including the purpose of the evaluation

  • Identification of stakeholders and targeted plans to engage each stakeholder group

  • An in-depth interview about the program(s) and/or service(s) we’re evaluating

  • Consensus on the major evaluation questions and methods for answering them

  • All research, including data gathering and analysis and interviews, focus groups, etc. conducted by Creative Clarity Consulting

  • A full report of results, including interpretation of results, recommendations for what’s next, and how you can apply our findings to your work

When we work together to evaluate your programs or services, you get to demonstrate impact and measure effectiveness. You’ll learn measurement – an essential skill – and how to put systems in place to make future evaluation easier than ever.

Done properly, evaluation helps you save time, better use your funds, increase funds, reduce risks, and optimize efforts. Evaluation outcomes help you to simplify, organize, make connections, inform and motivate stakeholders, and ensure quality.

Done properly, evaluation helps you save time, better use your funds, increase funds, reduce risks, and optimize efforts. Evaluation outcomes help you to simplify, organize, make connections, inform and motivate stakeholders, and ensure quality.

If you’re new to the work of Creative Clarity, please allow me to share a bit about our work. Driven by a desire to understand, translate, and manage knowledge, we are responsible for macro and micro-level evaluation. On the macro-level, we have evaluated broad community systems. On a micro-level, we have evaluated services, programs, and philanthropic giving. With an educational background in information studies, analytics, and project management, and a decade of experience working in not-for-profits, Creative Clarity is perfectly positioned to help you understand and articulate the difference you’re making.

We create custom quotes for each evaluation project. Though we utilize a process for our evaluation projects, each organization and program/service are unique. Please use the contact form to be in touch about your needs.

Time is of the essence - after all, why would you want to spend even one more day unsure of the difference that you’re making in the world?

Contact me for a customized quote.