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Program Evaluation in the Wild

July 23, 2015 All Articles, Nonprofits and Communities Tags: , 0 Comments

Logic models are the backbone of program evaluation. However, the value of logic modeling lies not just in the end product of the model itself, but also in the learning generated through the process of collective inquiry. By engaging in a logic modeling process, stakeholders learn to articulate the “why” behind the “what” of their work, a key foundation for creating the shared motivation and mental framework for turning the logic model into an operational tool.

But what about those stakeholders who, for one reason or another, are not able to participate in a full-scale logic model development process? How does the staffer who was hired after the logic model was created become invested in it as a framework for her practice? How does the director of an afterschool center create a culture of learning when most of his days are spent trying to raise funds to keep the doors open?

Over the last year, nFocus Solutions has been experimenting with ways to make learning-oriented program evaluation more efficient and accessible for a wide range of clients, including those organizations that currently do not have the resources or capacity to engage in traditional processes of comprehensive logic modeling. One of the initiatives we launched was an “outcomes workgroup,” a learning community for several Boys and Girls Clubs who use our flagship product, KidTrax, as their data collection and management solution for both their local data needs and for participation in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth Outcomes Initiative (NYOI).

We recently held the second meeting of this group, and we are excited to share some of the takeaways from our work together so far. In the next few weeks we will post some examples of the work our clients are doing to incorporate program evaluation into their Club programming, and we will also reflect on the implications of this work for nFocus as we begin transitioning most of our clients to Trax8, our next-generation participant management platform. Stay tuned!

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