some point in their history most organizations will have the occasion for
evaluation—either compelled by a sponsor or some internal circumstance—and view
it perhaps as a necessary evil. No one likes to be evaluated and this is
no less true for an organization than an individual, let alone by an outside
party. You may feel too, that an evaluation will not be able to measure
or capture the true success of your program—evidence which you have seen with
your own eyes for years. No doubt you can cite dozens of anecdotal incidences,
and this is all good and well until you take someone else’s money.
Fair or not, sponsors typically want to see some type of hard evidence
of a program’s success: data acquired via quantitative research methods,
such as surveys or tests. And whether your program is new or been in
operation for years, this can seem a bit scary, inappropriate even. How
can the success of our program be measured this way? you may ask. We
know it works, you contend; and its success cannot be demonstrated by
Not to worry. SSI has evaluated countless programs
just like yours—and all with positive results (see Programs).
We are equally sensitive to the needs of sponsors and
clients, and to satisfy both employ mixed-methods evaluations that
incorporate quantitative and qualitative methods.
this way, the success of the program is not dependent on any one method; hard
data is, and must be, supported and corroborated by less quantifiable means:
evidence obtained through case study, ethnographic study, interview, focus
group, observation, etc.
More importantly, SSI works closely and collaboratively with clients: you are
an integral part of evaluation design, and it is your input that will help
capture your program’s unique value as well as its efficacy.
Here's how it works: first, SSI meets with you and is advised of your program’s goals and anticipated
outcomes; we also get a feel for your organization: its mission and vision and
accomplishments, as well as information about other services and programs you
offer. Then we do our homework. After a thorough review of your proposal
(if your program is funded by a sponsor), and of successful programs similar to
yours, we submit an evaluation proposal (usually within a week’s time).
The evaluation will be designed to measure the success of your program and match
your organization’s resources (the funds you have available for the
evaluation). The evaluation proposal will outline: 1) the way in which we will
examine your program’s outcomes (Evaluation Design);
2) the type of studies we will employ to execute the design (Evaluation Studies); 3) how we will collect the data (Data Collection); 4) with what type of instruments (Instrumentation); 5) how we will analyze the data (Data Analysis); and 6) how we will report the findings
After you have had time to review the proposal, we will meet with you again to
negotiate finer design points and deliverables. If there are no modifications,
you will sign-off on the evaluation and we will get started—otherwise the
design will be modified. We will also meet with your sponsor as needed.
Throughout the evaluation period, SSI will keep in close contact and keep you
abreast of any developments—there will be no surprises. If there is room
for improvement, you will have ample opportunity to modify your program before
the final results are in. Final Reports will be sympathetic to your
program and highlight strengths as well as offer useful suggestions for areas
in need of enhancement. And, should you require hand-holding, SSI will
gladly provide it.
Let SSI begin working with you today—your program deserves to be seen in the
best possible light.