Evaluation Reboot – Using Evaluation as a Teaching Tool For Nonprofit Staff and Boards

We spend so much time focusing on finding grants, filling out applications and writing grant proposals.  How much time do you spend on evaluation?

Once a grant has been awarded, a grant manager needs to be appointed.  This could be the company comptroller or accountant, a staff member, and/or a board member.  The grant manager is in charge of financial and programmatic grant oversight. During this phase, the monies are spent exactly as stated in the proposed budget unless the grant manager has received approval for a budget modification.

Program evaluation is conducted pre, midpoint and post the grant award period.

Even after the grant money has been spent, the grant is not a “done deal” until the funders have been given a full report accounting for how the money has been used and with what results.

Evaluation is an important aspect of the grant cycle, as well as essential to the health and success of every nonprofit (and for-profit) organization. It’s the only way to know if a programs has had the impact proposed and truly made a difference.

A new book by Elena Harman, published by The Charity Channel, provides an in-depth look at evaluation designed for regular staff members (non-evaluators). The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot: A New Approach Every Staff Member Can Understand, focuses on learning from evaluation. It’s an easy to read manual perfect for busy professionals who are not experts in applied research methods.

Harman’s book is full of actionable strategies to help you find answers to your questions about how to measure your efforts and improve your results in the future.

The book contains chaptThe Great Nonprofit Evaluation Rebooters directed toward each staff position enabling each staff member to apply evaluation to improve their outcomes in fundraising, communications, leadership, and governance. Harman addresses how to evaluate both grant makers and grant recipients. She encourages both staff and board members to use “evaluation as a learning tool rather than an accountability measure.”

“Evaluation is a critical component of running effective programs, as well as raising more money for those programs,” says Amy Eisenstein, author of Major Gift Fundraising for Small Shops. “If you want to provide the best services possible, and communicate that with your donors, this book is a must read.”

Readers will learn that not only can evaluation support communications, but they will learn the role of the communication team in supporting evaluation. The book provides rich examples, helpful tips, and a down-to-earth writing style, valuable actionable steps that will inspire readers to start implementing these great ideas right away. In addition, she provides insights into which social media metrics are important to focus on and an honest assessment of when it does and does not make sense to evaluate.

What you can expect:

  • More about thinking and learning instead of just data and accountability
  • The three most important steps to nonprofit growth
  • Productive strategies using common language for evaluation
  • Pros, cons and how-to’s for keeping evaluation in-house and hiring consultants
  • How to take the first step that’s right for your organization

The four parts of the Evaluation Reboot include: 
Part One — Disconnected: The Evaluation Field and Nonprofits We Serve
Harman explains her misgivings about counterproductive practices in evaluation and shares her vision for healthier client-evaluator partnerships and their profound benefits.

Part Two — Breaking It Down
If you’re considering evaluation for your programs, the first step is often the most difficult. Harman breaks down the five core elements of effective evaluation one by one. Think of these core elements as the necessary framework or backbone of effective evaluation. You’ll gain a better understanding of how to get started and how to effectively measure your outcomes.

Part Three — Pick Your Position: How Evaluation Can Work for You 
Carrying out evaluation cuts across the entire organizational chart and needs the engagement of every staff member. This section explains how each position can uniquely apply evaluation techniques to amplify their results.

Part Four — Let’s Get Started 
The final section prepares you to apply what you’ve learned. It assembles and cross-references content that Harman finds helpful for making those early steps, including a “Nonprofit Evaluation Bill of Rights.”

Whether you’re looking for information on funding or grants for a nonprofit or business, find it on GrantWatch.

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