Designing and Implementing a NORC Program
Guiding Principle # 6
A NORC program measures its progress to determine whether its projects are on track to reach their goals.
Actions and Considerations
Decide what you plan to track. Outline your activities, and make a list of the information you want to collect. Your data points should help you determine what happened in the course of the project’s design and implementation.
A process evaluation should help you answer these questions:
Is the project being implemented as planned?
How is the project achieving its objectives?
What activities were conducted?
Are you reaching participants and are they the right participants?
How is the partnership working?
What problems were encountered in implementing objectives? How were they resolved?
Have all planned activities been implemented? If not, what remains to be done?
If objectives, activities, or timetables were revised, why was this necessary?
What changes occurred in leadership or personnel? What effect did these changes have?
How were residents involved?
What lessons have been learned that might be useful in future activities?
Choose data sources for tracking progress. You can use:
- Head counts.
- Meeting minutes, sign-in sheets, and other written documentation.
- Observation of clients or staff.
- Focus groups.
Decide how you will collect and organize your information. You will need to create basic data tracking forms and databases, or draw on available tools.
Decide who is responsible for the data collection process. A single person—either a staff member or an active partner—should assume overall responsibility for seeing that information is collected and organized appropriately. Estimate how much time the tasks will take, and determine what resources you need to get the job done.
Review the information you collect with staff and partners. Together, you can identify any problems suggested by the data and modify your activities as necessary.
Keep in Mind
Tracking your projects is an ongoing activity designed to ensure that your NORC program remains effective as your community evolves and resident needs change.
Documenting your work over time creates an historical record that can provide useful information for future planning and allow other NORC programs to replicate your successes.