Monday, February 26, 2007

Evaluation as empowering

One of our Evergreen Leaders board members, Lynn Reha, loves helping organizations do self-assessments. My eyes sort of blur and my brain becomes fuzzy when I think of nonprofits doing program evaluation. It all seems cumbersome to me.

And yet I keep coming back to simple questions. Given that Evergreen Leaders' mission is to help nonprofits thrive by meeting deep human needs and being a great workplace, how do we know if we are helping nonprofits meet deep human needs? How do we know we are helping a nonprofit to be a great work place?

I've found a website that makes assessment clearer and easier to think through, Innovation Network.

Through their website they "offers free tools and resources for assessment, accountability, communication, and program improvement." Can't beat that. All you need to do is complete a free registration and you can use their tools.

Also, I like their philosophy: "We believe evaluation can be a form of empowerment. Participatory evaluation empowers an organization to define its own success, to pose its own evaluation questions, and to involve stakeholders and constituents in the process."