Evaluating Projects of a NORC Program
Guiding Principle # 3
To conduct a useful evaluation, a NORC program commits adequate human and financial resources and develops efficient recordkeeping systems.
Actions and Considerations
Determine the knowledge and technical experience you need to conduct a systematic and thorough evaluation. Think through the skills that will allow you to collect, analyze, and disseminate evaluation data.
Consider who among your staff, volunteers, and partners has the skills you need. If there are gaps, try to identify other stakeholders who may be able to provide the expertise you need, or help you find it.
Put one person in charge, but involve everyone. One individual is generally assigned to oversee the development and implementation of a project and the tools for evaluating it. That person should also be responsible for quality control.
At the same time, designing an evaluation and collecting relevant data are tasks to which many people can contribute. Because a NORC program is very much of the community, many players should have opportunities to provide feedback.
Create a system to monitor your data-collection activities. Identify each evaluation activity, the partner or staff person responsible for getting it done, the time it will require, and the resources being allocated to the work.
Document your evaluation. Establishing a record of how and why activities were selected and measured is important for interpreting results and guiding project planning and management. Careful documentation also enables future evaluations to build on systems that have already been tested.
Review your data-collection process regularly. It is possible that your collection methods could be more efficient or give you fuller information. If you can discover this early, you may be able to refine your data-collection strategy.
Keep in Mind
Where possible, draw on the data you are already collecting so that you do not add to your workload.
Data tracking forms and processes will not create themselves. Give adequate consideration to these time-consuming components of evaluation in order to develop a usable and accurate collection and reporting system. Continue to Guiding Principle #4