Your team has decided that it’s time to conduct a program evaluation of your non-profit organization. But, you’re unsure of where to start. Don’t worry! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the process with you, in a six part series.

The first step is one that is easy to skip over, but is critical to your success. So, I strongly urge you to make time for  investing your stakeholders. Yes, that’s right. Before you begin creating a plan, you need to make sure all stakeholders are at the table because your work should be done with and not to those most invested. Your stakeholders will typically include your program’s recipients, implementers, supporters and decision makers. There are (at least) three benefits to including these groups.

Investing stakeholders:

  1. Can help ease anxiety. Oftentimes, when people hear “program evaluation,” they get a little very nervous because they associate evaluation with judgement. By investing your stakeholders in the process from the start, you have the opportunity to demonstrate that program evaluation is all about understanding what’s working, what’s not working (and why) in order to take steps to improve the program.
  2. Investing stakeholders shows how much you value their input in the process. It’s easy to tell people that you value their input, but you set yourself apart by involving them in a critical stage of your organization’s development.
  3. Makes your program evaluation better. Each stakeholder brings a different perspective to the work and having  variety of viewpoints is crucial as you clarify and align on your program’s goals and objectives.

In order to ensure your stakeholders are primed to fully engage, it’s helpful to prepare a few questions to help guide the conversations. Here are a few examples:

  1. What does this program mean to you?
  2. What data would you need to see in order to feel like the program is successful?
  3. What are the critical questions that you hope this evaluation will help answer?
  4. How would you like to be involved in the evaluation?
  5. What would you do with the results of the evaluation?

Are there questions you would add to this list? If so, let me know in the comments?

Does your non-profit need guidance with planning your program evaluation? Sign up for a complimentary 30 minute discovery session with me to discuss how I can help!