What Your Math Homework Taught You About Nonprofit Evaluation

Evaluation / we collaborate

When we hear the word “evaluation” many of us get nervous. Yes, we know it’s a great tool to see if our programs are effective, but it can be so overwhelming and feel extremely complicated.

If that’s how you feel, then I have some good news for you: you already know how to evaluate. Now, you may say “but I don’t have the experience” or “there are too many metrics I don’t know how to analyze.” Yes, there may be some technical things you don’t know how to do (statistics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea), but you already know the basics.

Your grades in school taught you the basics of nonprofit evaluation

If you went to school, and even if you homeschooled, you got grades. Grades showed you if you met the objectives of the assignment or test, and taught you a lot about evaluation.

Let’s take math class for example. Your homework assignments probably had two main goals: 1) get the correct answer to the problem, and 2) show your work. If you got the correct answer to the math problem and showed your work, you got full credit. If you showed your work and didn’t get the correct answer you may have gotten partial credit. Some teachers even put the correct answer on your homework to help you learn for next time.

Your nonprofit is similar to that math homework. Your programs have goals, whether they are to increase awareness of a certain issue, serve a specific number of meals a day, or host events for the community. Evaluation is similar to math homework grades- did you meet your goals? If you didn’t meet your goals, did you “get partial credit”? What can you learn to help you meet your goals next time?

While there are several methods to find out if you met your goals, the basics are always the same. And you already know the basics.

To learn more about nonprofit evaluation come to our professional development event, Evaluation: Show How Your Organization Makes A Difference. This event is October 11th from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the Galvanize Golden Triangle location.


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  • YNPN Denver .
    published this page in Blog 2016-10-02 12:33:54 -0600


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