Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
To see if your program works, to improve your program, and to gain evidence about your program’s effectiveness that you can share with stakeholders and funders.
What is the goal of evaluation?
The goal of evaluation is to learn about your program so that you can use that information to guide improvement and to understand your program’s impact. Most evaluations aim to provide useful feedback to a variety of audiences including sponsors, donors, client-groups, administrators, staff, and other stakeholders to aid them in decision-making. Our goal is to help you make your program successful.
What is the difference between research and evaluation?
Research and evaluation use similar methods, grounded in social science, but the purpose of each is quite different. The key differences between research and evaluation are the intended use and audience. While research is intended to add basic knowledge to the field, evaluation is intended to provide information that is useful to your program’s decision makers. This is an important distinction because it affects the design, reporting, and analysis of the study. As evaluators, we place a precedent on creating results that are usable and timely for your program.
When should I bring in an evaluator?
It is beneficial to involve evaluators no matter the current stage of your program’s lifecycle.
If you are designing a new program or writing a grant proposal, we encourage you to bring in an evaluator as soon as possible. At this stage of your program, evaluators can help you create logic models that will clearly identify goals, activities, and expected outcomes. They can also help you conceptualize and set up systems for monitoring your program’s progress towards meeting its goals.
If you have an existing program, it is important to bring in evaluators to help you answer questions about your program’s implementation, effectiveness, and future directions.
What does the first step in the evaluation process look like?
Once you contact us about providing evaluation services, we will provide a complementary consultation to determine your needs and to discuss options available to address them. If you decide to move forward with the evaluation process, we will develop a full scope of work including evaluation questions, budget, activities, and timelines for your review.
How long does evaluation take?
The timeline for an evaluation depends on the type of information you want to learn about your program and the level of evaluation support required. We have experience addressing client’s short-term evaluation needs, as well as working with organizations who want ongoing evaluation support. As part of our initial discussion of your program, we can help to determine the amount of time that will be required for your specific situation.
What is the cost of a typical evaluation?
Because every project is different, we work with you to determine a scope of work that fits within your budget. However, a good rule of thumb is to allocate 10 – 12% of your projects overall budget for evaluation.