Assessing your organizations? program impact is necessary to ensure feedback is used and the organization changes with the community. Making sure your program is going to plan, tracking the outcomes of your program, and taking the results into further action to improve your program are the necessary steps to take when evaluating the impact made in the community. This blog post breaks down the information available in our Module 4 on Impact Assessment for better clarity and understanding.
What to Measure
Beginning to gauge an organization?s influence within the community starts by measuring the inputs that go into conducting a program. Understanding what materials go into the project such as the number of staff, transportation, and time commitment are all factors of the budget or the amount of money you are willing to spend on those sectors. Keeping constant track of the program planning and having organizational charts helps track the inputs and outputs and assists in reflecting on your program implementation.
Outputs measure the immediate results of your completed program activities. Asking questions like, how many participants have you reached or how many pieces of training or classes have you completed aids are examples of those instant outputs. There are short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes. Short-term outcomes are ones that change the attitude and knowledge known by the participants such as enhanced football skills. Medium-term outcomes change participants? behavior after the program such as gaining healthy eating habits. Long-term outcomes are also known as impact and a program?s activity will not be the only thing to create impact. Some outcomes can include a measurable change in poverty levels or gender equity within an area.
Once the program has ended, taking in feedback and comprehending what is being learned can help modify and adjust the program to continue being beneficial for the program. Monitoring a program once it has been designed, during its implementation means having methods such as feedback evaluations and measuring outputs is needed to evaluate the process. Some tips for monitoring programs are deciding what inputs are important to keep track of, making spreadsheets and checklists of activities, and assigning a responsible person to keep track of those tools.
Evaluating a program determines the effectiveness and the success/failure of the program. These evaluations seek to prove that the program is the cause of the effect while ruling out other potential external effects. Program efficiency can be gauged based on equity, the number of participants, cost-effectiveness, and impact. Take a look into our Module 4 on Impact Assessment and learn more about how to measure your organization?s effect on the communities involved.
By: Ola Adebayo (GIL Team Member)