Evaluation is our bread-and-butter here at HARC (check out my previous posts here and here). Unfortunately, a common myth about evaluation is that it happens at the end of a project or program. While this is true, a more accurate statement is that evaluation has its place in all stages of a program cycle, from planning to implementation to summation and back to planning for the next round.Details
Last week I talked about how awesome program evaluation is, and how it helps you to quantify just how much your work changes lives. This week I want to go into more detail about that.
Many of you out there have big, beautiful goals for your programs—increase access to healthcare for low-income families, protect endangered species, advocate for human rights, provide high-quality education to all, etc. You sink time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into that goal. You WANT to make a difference, and to make the world a better place. Evaluation can help you prove that you did that, and make your impact statements something that will really blow people away (in a good way).Details
This blog is all about using data to change lives, improve communities, and make magic happen. And program evaluation, one of our major efforts here at HARC, is a big part of that. I love program evaluation, and you should, too. Here’s why:
What is Evaluation?
Program evaluation is a method of systematically collecting and analyzing information to better understand a program. That’s a fancy way of saying that evaluation is a study to see if you’re accomplishing what you hoped you’d accomplish. Basically, are your activities (programs, projects, policies, anything you’re doing) leading to the change you hoped you’d see?Details
Data’s not sexy (to most people… nerds like me are the exceptions). HARC provides research and evaluation services, and I’ve yet to say that sentence and get a response like, “Oh my god, how amazing!” or “It must be so rewarding!”. No, most people’s eyes glaze over when they hear the word “data”.
But data really does do wonderful things. Not on it’s own—if you do a study, write a report, and stick it on a shelf somewhere, all you’ve really done is waste time and resources. If, however, you share that information with amazing people who take it and run with it, magic happens.Details
HARC is a soon-to-be-10-year-old nonprofit, and we’ve struggled with telling people what it is we actually do for all of those almost-10-years. We are getting better at it (thanks to trial and error and some awesome communications people), so I wanted to try to share with you what HARC really is (at least in my mind).
There’s three big pieces to “who we are”: