LA RED TIG WEEK: How to Institute an Internal Culture of Evaluation by Susana Morales

Hola, my name is Susana Morales and I am so excited to be sharing with fellow evaluation practitioners. My work focuses on bicultural and bilingual evaluations with an emphasis on community health and community economic development. I come to this work from the belief that evaluation can create revolutions and demonstrate impact in communities of color.

I have had the honor to work with a small nonprofit during the last 3 years supporting them in a state-wide evaluation. It has been challenging and rewarding. Challenging because before they started this journey, they didn’t quite understand evaluation and felt like they were being scored and judged. Rewarding because this misperception transformed, and they soon realized that evaluation is critical to demonstrate their community impact. Through the evaluation we were able to concretely conclude that their community defined intervention is effective, reached the desired population, and had a positive impact in people’s lives. Now that the evaluation is over, I wonder how they can continue to make continuous evaluation part of their organizational culture? How can we as evaluators set the stage for revolution? Here are some ideas:

  1. Make evaluation accessible and user-friendly. This demonstrates that evaluation is doable and feasible.  
  2. Earn trust and respect by always being available, responsive, and meeting the organization where they are at. They will always be in the right place at the right time.
  3. Recognize that it’s a joint learning experience. We have much to learn from the organizations we evaluate. Be humble, learn, and co-create a brave environment for sharing lessons. 
  4. Trust the outcome and process. As challenging as times might be, you are working towards a goal. Remind the organization about this often and lead by example. 
  5. Engage with the work. Show up even when you don’t have to.
  6. Be your authentic self. These projects are intense, and everyone involved is investing their time, energy and selves. 

The American Evaluation Association is hosting La RED TIG Week with our colleagues in the La RED Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our La RED TIG 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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