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



Susan Kistler on Innovative Reporting Part I: The Data Diva’s Chocolate Box

tso_reporting_chocolates_nuggets.closecropHello wonderful aea365ers. My name is Susan Kistler and I am an independent consultant and trainer. I’m also the Executive Director Emeritus of the American Evaluation Association, and originator of aea365. But enough about me, let’s talk about chocolate!

Back in February, Stephanie Evergreen wrote on her blog about “findings cookies” – homemade fortune cookies with a tiny tidbit from an evaluation report inside.  I loved the idea, but ran into two potential problems with personal execution: 1. I burn most of what I cook, and 2. I needed something that was more portable. Our beloved aea365 curator, Sheila Robinson, came to the rescue when she suggested “findings chocolates” in the comments to Stephanie’s post. These were perfect for making ahead for an upcoming dataviz workshop I was giving where colleagues from the St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) would be in attendance. The data from their 2011-2012 Vision Cards served as the basis for these examples.

Hot Tip: Wrap Hershey’s Nuggets in hand-made overlays and you’ll have three sides available for information. When we made the ones at the top of this post, we put a graph illustrating the measure on top, the interpretation and goal on one side, and a link to the full report on the other.

tso_reporting_chocolates_kisses.closecropjpgCool Trick: 3/4″ color coding dots fit perfectly on the bottom of Hershey’s Kisses. Buy the dots that can be printed on and add a key finding. Then, peel and stick!

Rad Resource – Chocolate Stickers and Wrappers Templates: You can download templates for both the circles and nuggets in Microsoft Word format on my site here.

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series on alternative reporting, exploring ways to get your report off the shelf and into people’s hands and heads.

[Update: This post was updated in March of 2015 to ensure updated access to the templates]

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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    […] up colored cards, standing up, and clapping are ways to approach this. A recent AEA365 post, Innovative Reporting Part I: The Data Diva’s Chocolate Box, that showed how to present results on candy wrappers served as an impetus for another way to […]


  • Susan Kistler on Innovative Reporting Part III: Taking It to the Streets · AEA365 · May 13, 2014 at 3:15 am

    […] Kistler, of, and I’m on to Part III of an Innovative Reporting Series (see Part I on chocolate reports and Part II on adding video to your toolbox). Today I wanted to share lessons from a project […]


  • Susan Kistler on Innovative Reporting Part II: Book Giveaway and #altreporting Videos · AEA365 · April 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    […] name is Susan Kistler and I am on a crusade to expand our reporting horizons. Earlier this month, we looked at little chocolate reports. Today, let’s consider adding videos to your […]


  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · April 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    When I was working for AEA, I would definitely have brought these to a Board of Directors meeting with a key indicator on them, then handed them around as I made a short formal presentation and we discussed the data and its implications.


  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · April 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    These are definitely NOT the main way to report findings.

    They definitely would be one small part of a broader reporting plan. The woman from SPPS was excited to bring them with her to meetings where they would be discussing data in their vision cards (from which these indicators were taken).

    In terms of money, I probably wouldn’t even have put these in a broader budget, but rather show up with them to a client meeting to congratulate them on success on a particular outcome. Evaluators are always seen as so stuffy, I’ll use almost anything to break down barriers and get people talking about findings.


  • Anon ymous · April 4, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Are these done as giveaways for fun at meetings or as the main way to reporting findings? I am having a hard time envisioning a client group being receptive to their evaluation budget being spent on this type of thing or viewing it as serious reporting about things that are important to them.


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