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NPF Week: Rachel Leventon and Susan Wolfe on Teaching Nonprofits to Design Evaluable Programs

We are Rachel Leventon and Susan Wolfe, consultants at CNM Connect where we provide evaluation and capacity-building services and training to non-profit organizations in North Texas.

CNM Connect offers a Non-Profit Management Certificate. For this series, we developed and teach the seven-hour Program Planning and Evaluation Workshop. We combine three recognizable approaches to expose participants to basic program planning and evaluation concepts and we stress the importance of evaluable, thoughtfully-designed programs:

  1. We use Wiseman, Chinman, Ebener, Hunter, Imm, and Wandersman’s (2007) Getting to OutcomesTM 10-Step Model to frame the workshop.
  2. To deepen the program design portion of the workshop, we present John Gargani and Steward Donaldson’s Theory-Driven Program Design model, highlighting the development of Theories of Change and the importance of constituent values in program design.
  3. In the evaluation portion of the workshop, we introduce workshop participants to logic models using a modified version of Lien, Greenleaf, Lenke, Hakim, Swink, Wright and Meissen’s (2011) Tearless Logic Model.

Using these three resources in combination with CNM Connect’s outcomes-based program evaluation methodology, we ensure that the material is interesting and accessible to all participants, regardless of their background or specific interest in program planning or evaluation.

Rad Resources:

Hot Tips:

  • While there are many other great evaluation and program design models and tools available, we have found that introducing too many different models became confusing for students. Instead we provide a detailed list of additional resources they can explore if interested.
  • To learn more about Theory Driven-Program Design and Theory-Driven Evaluation, attend the annual AEA Conference or AEA Summer Institute and look for sessions presented by John Gargani or Stewart Donaldson.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Nonprofit and Foundations TIG Week with our colleagues in the NPF AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our NPFTIG 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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