Community in Evaluation

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is hosting “Community in Evaluation:”

“Evaluation helps organizations assess their progress toward the goals they’ve set; articulate their challenges and successes; and identify areas for improvement. However, evaluations frequently suffer from understanding gaps which can limit the value of the findings. Evaluations that engage stakeholders benefit from multiple perspectives and honor different types of expertise. The Improve Group’s Community-Responsive Approach (SM) ensures that the unique perspectives of all affected communities and stakeholder groups are represented in every phase of the evaluation process, from designing data collection to reporting results.

By being responsive to each community’s distinct characteristics and by involving individual community stakeholders in an evaluation design, you are more likely to hear authentic experiences, concerns, and results. A key assumption in community-responsive evaluation is that people hold different kinds of expertise (i.e., community, cultural, technical, issue-specific, organizational, etc.) that are all valuable to the research process. Drawing on examples from The Improve Group’s work and asking you to bring a community or example of your own work to craft a plan, through this training session you will learn why this approach is important—including messages you can use to convince others of its merit—and how to implement it.

Learning objectives include:

  • Learn the importance of including community in your evaluation.
  • Learn how to identify diverse program stakeholders to include in an evaluation.
  • Learn concrete strategies for engaging these stakeholders in evaluation, including through convening advisory groups, hiring evaluators directly from community, and hearing the different ways that people describe issues and problems.”

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