Who knew a physicist could also be an evaluation expert?
Not everything that can be counted counts,
and not everything that counts can be counted.
- Albert Einstein
Einstein had it right - quality evaluation is about more than just hard numbers. So many outcomes stem from your hard work that are not easily quantifiable yet contribute hugely to peoples' lives. It is a bit of an art form to balance that which can be counted and that which can't.
How do you decide what counts and how to capture it?
We've learned it's best to start by figuring out what matters most about the work you do. Ask yourself and your staff questions like: If we could know just one thing about our program/initiative, what would it be? What type of evidence would help us show our effectiveness to current and future funders?
Once you're clear about that, you can decide if surveys and trend data will fully capture your work and accomplishments. If not, know that there are ways to document the seemingly "uncountable". At EVALCORP, we relish working with our partners on finding ways to do that. We often use tools like focus groups, case studies, interviews, and evaluative observations.
We believe an effective evaluation is as carefully calibrated as a physics equation. It creates a bridge between the abstract and the actual - between what you know and how you know it.