“Build it in, initiate it, continue it, and be ready for course corrections”
Frequent checks - “How are we doing”
Evaluation is critical to knowing the success and impact of a program. It is essential when designing and implementing complex and comprehensive initiatives aimed at environmental change. Systematic and organized on-going monitoring must be implemented at the initial stages of the plan and continued beyond completion. It is also important to use standardized assessment tools, conduct data collection and analysis, and utilize findings for modification and gauge of impact.
The coalition is a crucial component of monitoring the driving force of the community initiative. As coalitions form and develop, it is important to periodically check its effectiveness and use the findings as discussion points about necessary changes and adjustments. Many surveys are designed so that you can use only the sections that are appropriate to your needs and resources. Tools should be reviewed by the coalition before using them.
Gain input from partners
A community initiative involves many diverse partnerships that commit time, resources, and expectations into the project. It is valuable to gain their perspectives of the program, the process, and its impact. Conduct an exit interview survey with participating partners and community components and include the results in the final report to funders as well as the partners themselves.
Know the impact of the intervention
Evidence that the community initiative met its goals is needed to complete the cycle of intervention. Funders, planners, coalition members, and community members need to know the outcomes of their efforts. The strategic plan should include an evaluation section that provides time, resources, and commitment to an evaluation process.
A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Evaluation Questions
Evaluation is about answering the questions that matter and will be useful for providing feedback to improve the programs and developing others. This guide outlines the evaluation process and provides useful models, tools, worksheets, and examples for engaging the stakeholders and formulating the evaluation questions.
The Coalition Self-assessment Tool (from Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center)
This tool looks at the characteristics of the coalition:
-stages of development
Coalition Self-Assessment Survey (CSAS) and Manual
The survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was designed to capture information from the coalition members on the structure and process including functioning, leadership, and effectiveness of effort. It is useful for any statewide or local coalition, partnership, consortium or collaborative group working together on a community-level public health, health care, or social service problem. The manual describes:
-how the survey can be customized
-who should be in the sampling frame and how a sample should be drawn
-how and to whom the results should be presented
-what structures and processes need to be in place to apply the results appropriately
Authors request credit for use and/or modification of the tool. At this website, right-click the pdf files of the survey and manual and save onto your hard drive.
CDC Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health
Evaluation is an essential organizational practice and should be incorporated in the day-to-day program management. Following the six steps will help the development of the program, its implementation and the evaluation. Another link to Resources includes logic models, articles, reports, and most useful – Manuals. There are more than 100 resources linked by category.
-Describe the program
-Focus the evaluation design
-Gather credible evidence
-Ensure use and share lessons learned
Evaluating the Initiative
Community Toolbox ‘Do the Work’ tab contains a link to ‘Evaluating the Initiative’ with tools, how to, tips, and examples. Although very comprehensive, this site offers many ideas for your selection and modification to best fit your needs and resources.