AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | membership

Milos Popovic

You’ve probably heard a new voice on the phone when you’ve called into the AEA main line. The first thing you ask might not be related to membership, but to the pronunciation of my name, and that’s completely okay (it’s Mee-lowsh)!

My name is Milos Popovic, and I have been the Operations Associate for AEA for the last three months now. It has been a truly rewarding experience. I especially enjoy engaging directly with AEA members.  I am answering e-mails and calls daily, working to handle all requests related to membership. Whether you are having trouble logging in to your profile or would like to renew your membership, I am always gladly willing to help.

What keeps me motivated at AEA is hearing a member say that I made their life easier. Even if it is just helping reset a password, I am happy to makes sure that members are able to take advantage of the entire landscape of AEA’s offerings. That is the essence of our service to our members, to be a resource in their careers in the field of evaluation, not a liability. While I am answering phones and e-mails, I know I am contributing to improve overall member satisfaction with our organization.

On a final note, if you have any questions regarding Evaluation 2017, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 202-367-1166 or e-mail at info@eval.org.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hi I am Zachary Grays, Operations Coordinator for AEA.

You’ll hear it from just about anyone who is a member that the AEA Topical Interest Groups are the heart and soul AEA. Each TIG is defined around a special topic or interest and creates a forum whereby the knowledge, experience, and skills of each member can become a resource that the entire community can leverage. TIGs serve many roles for AEA, especially for the annual conference (we hope to see you in DC for Evaluation 2017!).  Our TIG members review proposals, curate the vast learnings submitted, and expertly connecting them to the conference theme. More than anything, TIGs are valuable in the way that they bring together AEA’s diverse membership to make a large association feel like home.

Joining a TIG is an exclusive benefit to AEA membership and is your ticket to a community of experts who share similar backgrounds and work settings. Through our TIGs you have access to a network of professionals for collaboration on ideas and practices and a well of invaluable knowledge on topic areas that may be of interest to you. Your participation is based on your availability, and there is no specific obligation associated with your TIG membership. Being active in a TIG allows you to increase your depth of knowledge in a specific area as well as have leadership opportunities. Some TIGs are very active, with vibrant online discussion lists, resource websites, and special networking events, while others tend to focus their efforts around the AEA annual conference.

Hot Tip: Join a TIG and Get the Most of Your AEA Membership!

As an AEA member, you are allowed to join up to five of the 56 Topical Interest Groups. Joining a TIG is easy and can be managed here. Simply log in and join the TIGs that best suit your interests. To join a TIG, click ‘Join‘ next to the TIG name. Your request will be queued for approval to ensure you have not exceeded your limit of five. You will be notified when your request is approved.

To remove yourself from a TIG, click ‘Member‘ next to the TIG name below, and then click the ‘Leave Community‘ button on the following page.

Rad Resource: Getting to Know A TIG! Not sure if particular TIG is the right fit for you? While 56 TIGs sound like a lot, there a few great ways to get your feet wet before hitting the ‘Join’ button. Check out a TIGs website to learn about their mission, purpose, and upcoming activities. Many TIGs use their sites to archive their newsletters, engage in rich discussion, and keep members in the know as we lead into Evaluation 2017.

Hot Tip: Attend a TIG Business Meeting at Evaluation 2017!

If you’re joining us at Evaluation 2017 in Washington, D.C. this November, add a TIG Business Meeting to your agenda! Each TIG will hold a business meeting, open to all attendees, on Thursday, November 9. During this time, attendees have the opportunity to learn more about the TIGs in an informal environment, participate in TIG business (i.e. providing input on new TIG leadership, volunteer opportunities, and ideas for the upcoming program year), and network face-to-face with fellow members of the TIG. It is an excellent community and discovery experience for AEA members, new and seasoned.

Lastly, should you ever have questions regarding TIGs, we’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact me at AEA Headquarters for guidance around TIGs. I also encourage you to take the opportunity to reach out to a TIG leader individually for additional insight on their TIG and how to get involved.

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Right now many of us are making our list and checking it twice. Much advice exists for what to buy teachers, mothers, or your favorite engineer, but I couldn’t find any suggestions on what to buy an evaluator. I’ve compiled some interesting ideas you may want to consider for that amazing evaluator in your life. I invite you to add yours in the comment section!

Hot Tips:

Free creative gift ideas

  • Personalize a song.  If you need inspiration there are several examples on AEA’s YouTube channel including the 2011 Evaluation Pie and Genuine Evaluation Jingle. Kylie Hutchinson at Community Solutions has remixed traditional holiday lyrics with an evaluation twist. I highly recommend The Evaluator is coming to Town.
  • Create a cartoon. You can cartoon any evaluation experience or insider joke. For extra motivation see Chris Lysy’s evaluation cartoons at freshspectrum.  A few of my favorites are It’s Copy Protected and PowerPoint is not the Null.
  • Create a poem or short story. Roger Miranda’s Eva the Evaluator is a good example of a short story that evaluator’s love.
  • Create a handmade book. You could create your own book of their favorite evaluation quotes, event photos,  or aea365 blog posts.

Not-so-free gift ideas

  • Create a personalized website. With many free webhosts and inexpensive domain registrations, you could create a special website for under $20. This could be for a first-time business website or a site just for fun. One year I created a happybirthdaytodad.com website with pages of photos, dad’s favorite websites, websites he might enjoy but hadn’t found, links to YouTube videos of his favorite music, etc.
  • Create your own gift. Go to your local t-shirt company to create an individualized product or use an online service such as Zazzle or Café Press. Here you upload your own graphic onto a product or purchase one premade. A quick search of the terms evaluator, evaluate, and evaluation found hundreds of premade products: I heart evaluators t-shirt, mouse pads with quotes such as John Singer Sargent’s “I do not judge, I chronicle”, or how about a baby bib that says My life is program evaluation.
  • Give the gift of membership. Did you AEA membership rates increase after December 31, 2012? Give your favorite evaluator an AEA yearly membership.
  • Give a book. I did a search of the term evaluation on Amazon. With a return rate of 140,715 on the topic you should be able to find something.
  • Give a gift card. When all else fails, give a gift card. You could add a twist and create one for helpful things like a day of strategic planning, transcription, or whatever your trade. GiftRocket and GiftCard.com are sites that let you create customized gift cards.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Feb/12

18

Susan Kistler on Joining AEA

I’m Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director. Once each year I write explicitly to those of you who are not AEA members in hopes of encouraging you to join the association.

Hot Tip – Join AEA: Membership in AEA is only $80 per year, $60 if your primary membership is with the Canadian Evaluation Society, or $30 if you are a full-time student. It quickly pays for itself. You can join online.

Hot Tip – AEA members have access to four of the leading evaluation journals: As a member, you’ll receive hardcopy and electronic subscriptions to AEA’s own journals, The American Journal of Evaluation and New Directions for Evaluation, as well as electronic access to Evaluation Review and Evaluation and the Health Professions. You’ll receive not only the latest articles, but also access to 20+ years of archival content.

Hot Tip – AEA members can attend over 40 free Coffee Break Demonstrations each year: And, members can access the recordings in the members-only Coffee Break Archive. Want to get a taste for them? Check out the list of upcoming CBDs as well as the public list of those that are already in the archives.

Hot Tip – AEA members receive discounts on professional development (online and in person): Full members receive $50 off each one-day workshop, whether offered as an AEA eStudy (David Fetterman is offering Empowerment Evaluation this week; Tom Chapel is offering Intro to Evaluation, and Michelle Kobayashi is offering Survey Development next month) or in-person at the AEA annual conference, where you’ll find over 50 pre- and post-conference workshops.

Hot Tip – AEA members engage with the field’s thought leaders: For one week each month AEA hosts a leader in the field on its members-only Thought Leaders Forum. The discussant shares insights, explores issues, and answers your questions. You can lurk in the background and take it all in, or dive in and discuss. Next up? Gail Barrington in March.

Hot Tip – AEA members promote their business: Whether you are an independent consultant or part of a 100 person firm, AEA membership gives you a free listing of your evaluation-related services in AEA’s Find-an-Evaluator database. Directly accessible from the homepage, the FAE listings are among the most highly used sections of the AEA website.

Hot Tip – AEA members build their professional networks and get questions answered: AEA membership includes membership in up to five of AEA’s 50+ Topical Interest Groups (TIGs), from Data Visualization and Reporting, to Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation, to Independent Consulting, to Quantitative Methods, to Evaluating the Arts and Culture, there is a TIG or two (or five) for everyone.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

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My name is Tucker Handley, and I am the treasurer of the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG).  I was approached by the OPEG board to serve as treasurer.  Despite some initial reluctance, I accepted the position and have grown to enjoy the opportunity to work and interact with evaluation professionals throughout the state.

OPEG holds two conferences per year, with one conference in the fall and one in the spring. Benefits of OPEG membership include access to all conference materials on our website as well as the opportunity to be listed as an evaluation consultant.

OPEG has two main payment methods for membership and conference fees.  Individuals and organizations can mail conference and membership payments (i.e., checks and purchase orders) to my home address.  This method remains popular, especially with large institutions such as universities.  In addition, people can pay conference and/or membership fees via credit card on PayPal from our website at www.opeg.org.  This method is a very convenient and efficient way to collect payments, especially for large conferences (for our conference last month, 56 of 88 attendees paid via PayPal).

Hot Tip:  Keep membership fees low to grow membership base – Annual membership in OPEG is $30 for professionals and $20 for students.   OPEG has maintained this price for well over a decade. We did this in order to encourage evaluators to join the organization and have an ongoing relationship with OPEG over time rather than just attending an occasional conference. Establishing a lower student rate encourages students to join the organization and hopefully maintain their membership after graduation.

Hot Tip: Consider using PayPal or other online ‘shopping cart’ service as a means of payment – I find PayPal and easy and convenient way to collect membership fees and conference registrations from my computer.  However, the processing fees per transaction add up over time (PayPal charges a fee of between 3-4% of the transaction amount), and PayPal has a 3-4 day processing delay in transferring funds from our PayPal account to our bank account.

Hot Tip: Registration for OPEG’s interactive and experiential October 13th Fall Workshop, Embracing Change through Evaluation, is now open at www.OPEG.org.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the OPEG AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our OPEG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I am Sheri Chaney Jones, president of Measurement Resources Company and a Member at Large for the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG).

As an independent evaluator with a passion for data-driven decision making, I desire to network with other evaluators and those that could benefit from evaluation.  One way I do this is by staying active in my local AEA affiliate, OPEG.  In order for the group to be a benefit its members the organization must be strong and active providing relevant and necessary programming of interest.

OPEG recently took steps to regenerate interest and strengthen its membership. The results from these strategies helped our OPEG chapter grow.

  1. Conducted an electronic survey of its current and past members to find out their perceptions and desires for OPEG.
  2. Called individuals who were once actively involved, but had not participated in the past year. Individuals of the membership committee made the calls and asked questions to understand why these inactive members stopped attending events and their current interest in OPEG.
  3. Personally invited the inactive members to reengage in the organization and attend the next event.

Lessons Learned: Don’t let communication lapse! We learned that many inactive members were unaware of their OPEG membership status and upcoming events due to lack of communication. Others felt like conferences were too academic or the sessions did not apply to them.  In some cases people changed employers, so this approach allowed us to inform their replacement of OPEG and its benefits.

Hot Tip:  Use what they tell you. The survey results helped our program and membership committees improve our programming and outreach activities.  We are developing a membership management system that will allow us to better communicate with members regarding events and membership.

Rad Resource:  Find new ways to connect. We also started a LinkedIn group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2957762&trk=anet_ug_grppro ) that helps members stay engaged and increase communication with each other.

The success of an affiliate chapter is no different from the success of the clients evaluators serve. It is important to stay in touch with our members and evaluate if we as an organization are still relevant to their needs.  These three activities have appeared to pay off as our last conference was very well attended with many individuals coming to an OPEG event for the first time!

Hot Tip: Registration for OPEG’s interactive and experiential October 13th Fall Workshop, Embracing Change through Evaluation, is now open at www.OPEG.org.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the OPEG AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our OPEG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Jan/11

1

Susan Kistler on Joining AEA

Happy New Year! My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director for the American Evaluation Association. Today I’m writing to the aea365 readers who are not members of AEA, to encourage you to join the association for 2011.

Hot Tip: Membership in AEA is only $80/year ($30 for students), and easily pays for itself. You can join online.

Why join?

Hot Tip – AEA members have access to four of the leading evaluation journals: Members receive hardcopy and electronic subscriptions to AEA’s own journals, The American Journal of Evaluation and New Directions for Evaluation, as well as electronic access to Evaluation Review and Evaluation and the Health Professions. You’ll receive not only the latest articles, but also 20+ years of archival content. AEA365 contributors regularly recommend journal readings (see 12/29, 12/26, 12/24 from the past week alone!).

Hot Tip – AEA members engage with the field’s thought leaders: For one week each month AEA hosts a leader in the field on its members-only Thought Leaders Forum. The discussant shares insights, explores issues, and answers your questions. You can lurk in the background and take it all in, or dive in and discuss. Coming soon? Michael Scriven in January and Melvin Hall in February.

Hot Tip – AEA members promote their business: Whether you are an independent consultant or part of a 100 person firm, AEA membership gives you a free listing of your evaluation-related services in AEA’s Find-an-Evaluator database. Directly accessible from the homepage, the FAE listings are among the most highly used sections of the AEA website.

Hot Tip – AEA members attend free coffee-break webinars: Each month, we host 3-4 20-minute webinars that demonstrate a tool or provide insight into a methodology or theory. Topics in the works for 2010 include one each on collaborative, participatory, and empowerment evaluation, an exploration of photo journaling, and tips for strengthening your evaluation reports. Membership also gives you access to the recorded archives!

Hot Tip – AEA members have a voice in their association: As an AEA member, you’ll regularly have opportunities to provide input to comments on legislation, to make your voice heard to the Board, and to take advantage of AEA volunteer opportunities.

Hot Tip – AEA members stay abreast of happenings in the field: Each month, AEA members receive an electronic calendar and newsletter. The newsletter’s Policywatch column keeps you up to date on issues in the US Federal government. The Tech Talk column helps you make the most of the online resources available for evaluators. Other articles provide insight into the people and events shaping the field, announce new books, and ensure that you know what is happening within your association.

Hot Tip – AEA members save money: AEA full members receive discounts on the AEA Annual Conference ($80 off), workshops ($50 off per full-day workshop), the AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Training Institute ($50 off registration), and on books ordered directly from our publishing partners (20% off from SAGE, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, Guildford, and Lyceum).

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

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