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Strengthening Our Communities: Program Evaluation

Begin with the end in mind. Every comprehensive program starts with a plan. These plans should include an evaluation strategy and steps for collecting that data during the program, as well as at the end.

Program evaluation data can and should inform long-term program design, delivery strategies, and funding. The purpose of program evaluation is two-fold, to determine if the program is producing the results we expect and to use the data to improve future programing for participants and other stakeholders.

Process evaluation measures the success of how the program was actually delivered.

  • Did everything go as planned?
  • How many methods were used?
  • Did the program reach the intended audience?
  • What was the return on the financial investment?

Outcome or Impact evaluation seeks to measure any changes in program participants as a result of participation in a program. Impact evaluation usually includes a range of outcomes including:

  • Short-term changes in attitudes, awareness or knowledge
  • Medium-term changes in participant behaviors or practices
  • Long-term changes in conditions such as environmental, social, health, financial, and public policy.