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Melissa Rivera on Engaging Stakeholders

Hi my name is Melissa Rivera. I am the Director of Evaluation and Research at the National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions (NCPRS). Since 2006, our organization has collaborated with the National Guard Bureau to implement an evidence-based program, Stay on Track, to over 115,000 sixth through eighth grade students nationally. Since inception, NCPRS has strategically aligned our evaluation goals with the National Guard Counterdrug Program’s goals. Over the years we have learned several best practices that have helped us engage stakeholders throughout the evaluation cycle.

Hot Tip: A successful evaluation design requires engaging and empowering stakeholders throughout the evaluation cycle. We developed a comprehensive evaluation plan that reinforced and aligned:

  • the goals and objectives of stakeholders
  • the goals of national organizations
  • programmatic objectives

To reinforce messaging, we ensured that training workshops and any materials developed consistently met identified goals.

Rad Resource: Rosalie Torres, Hallie Preskills, and Mary Piontek have created an effective tool that can be used to engage the stakeholders in evaluation strategies. In their book, Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting: Enhancing Learning in Organizations, they provide explicit details on how to develop a communication and reporting plan that can be used to engage stakeholders.

We have used these strategies and incorporated them into our evaluation plan and the results are promising. This information is also discussed during our training workshops and has provided reinforcement of our goals and objectives.

Hot Tip: Develop interactive multi-tier trainings that engage implementers and provide them with the tools they need to implement effectively and incorporate a certification element that enables them to train others. Some best practices include providing implementers with:

  • the knowledge and resources they need to cascade the information appropriately.
  • a procedural guide or a guidance document that contains an overview of the program, the design of the evaluation, how to administer surveys, how to return surveys, and a glossary of evaluation terms.

Collectively, engaging stakeholders equates to success in every facet of evaluation.

We hope that you consider using some of these tools!

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

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