The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot: A New Approach Every Staff Member Can Understand
Finally. A book about evaluation for non-evaluators. Who are non-evaluators? Busy professionals like you who need answers, but don’t have time to take an applied research and methods class. If you’ve picked up other books on evaluation and felt like you were left out of the conversation, you’re not alone.
Elena Harman’s The Great Nonprofit Evaluation Reboot puts the focus back on learning from evaluation. Not only that, it's jargon-free and brimming with actionable strategies to help you find the answers to your questions about how to measure your efforts and learn on purpose rather than by accident. There’s a chapter for every nonprofit position and how each staff member can uniquely apply evaluation to improve outcomes in fundraising, communications, leadership and governance. Plus, there's even a chapter just for funders.
What you can expect:
- More about thinking and learning instead of data and accountability
- The three most important steps to discovering how your nonprofit can grow
- Productive strategies using common language for evaluation
- Pros, cons and how-to’s for keeping evaluation in-house and hiring consultants
- How everyone can take the first step that’s right for their organization
The Evaluation Reboot in Four Parts:
Part One — Disconnected: The Evaluation Field and Nonprofits We Serve
The evaluation field’s journey over the years has affected our perceptions and realities about the client and evaluator’s relationship. Harman explains her misgivings about counterproductive practices in evaluation and shares her vision for healthier client-evaluator partnerships and their profound benefits.
Part Two — Breaking It Down
If you’re considering evaluation for your programs, the first step is often the most difficult. Harman breaks down the five core elements of effective evaluation one by one. Think of these core elements as the backbone of effective evaluation. By the end of the section, you have a better understanding of how to get started and how to effectively measure your outcomes.
Part Three — Pick Your Position: How Evaluation Can Work for You
Carrying out evaluation cuts across the entire organizational chart and needs the engagement of every staff member. This section explains how each position can uniquely apply evaluation techniques to amplify their results. Harman introduces the body’s head and limbs as a metaphor to explain how programs require the animation of all body parts to move evaluation forward.
Part Four — Let’s Get Started
This section of the book prepares you to apply the author’s discussions thus far in Part Two, which provide a necessary framework, or as she explains, the backbone, for effective evaluation. Then Part Three explores all the moving parts or positions that activate evaluation. This last portion of the book assembles and cross-references content that Harman finds helpful for making those early steps, including a Nonprofit Evaluation Bill of Rights.
What Nonprofit Experts Have to Say:
- “insightful and practical”
- “essential evaluation methods that development officers can easily apply”
- “evaluation as a learning tool rather than an accountability measure”
- “opened my eyes to ways in which evaluation can support communications”
- “appreciated a focus on educating donors about what data to ask for and why”
- “a solid path to grantee evaluation without strain and frustration”