20 July 2015

Not for Profits…Do you need to establish more suitable frameworks for evaluation and reporting?

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Not for Profit evaluation is a vital part of ensuring continuous improvement of services and programmes. Through evaluating programme outcomes, organisations can examine what goals have been achieved or revised against what was originally set out and expected. Furthermore, programme evaluation allows organisations to make more informed decisions and set future goals and identify areas for improvement.

Challenges can be faced when evaluation takes place whether this is from choosing suitable evaluation methods to establishing measurable outcomes to evaluate. Effective and purposeful evaluation needs time, effort, resources and money well managed to achieve meaningful results.

With NFPs constantly evolving, with nine new charities being registered on average every day in Australia, according to new figures from the national charity regulator, it is now vital for NFPs to ensure they can effectively evaluate their programmes and communicate this with key stakeholders, the public and potential funders!

So how can NFPs improve their evaluation processes and overcome challenges faced through evaluating? This week, I asked Andrew Cameron, General Manager of Doxo Youth Foundation in Victoria the challenges involved with programme evaluation…

Holly: What is the main challenge for evaluating your programme outcomes?

Andrew: To rapidly establish an evaluation baseline early in the life of the programme and commence the collection of a useful dataset which articulates the benefits achieved.

Holly: Can you list the top three challenges with determining measurable programme outcomes?

1. To develop a coherent strategy which is reality based but also that provides scope for selecting forward looking programme outcomes.
2. To prioritise measures of user experience over those reflecting pragmatic decision making.

3. To ensure that programme outcomes are evidence based and the measures selected are research validated.

Holly: How can you develop frameworks for conducting evidence based analysis?

Andrew: Partnering with both end users and research institutions to establish a sound program logic to inform the evaluation of program outcomes.

Holly: How do you ensure the reports you produce match the expectations of funders?

Andrew: Clarifying expectations in advance and seeking to provide the right level of information to meet the funders’ requirements.
Holly: Thank you Andrew for your time and providing these useful tips.

So the question is, is your organisations prepared to carry out the cycle of evaluation? There are a wide range of online information sheets to aid NFPs with their evaluations. Take a look at the following links if you feel your organisation is in need of some extra help and guidance…

As a tomboy child, Holly enjoyed watching wrestling and was The Rock’s biggest fan. She is from a tiny farming village in the north of England and has moved to Sydney to enjoy the city lifestyle. As a conference producer at Akolade, Holly enjoys researching with and learning from key professionals within a range of sectors to produce timely conferences. Furthermore, Holly enjoys how each day in the life of a conference producer is always different and exciting!

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