Evaluation – what does it really mean for your communication or engagement project?
Evaluation is a common word in communication and engagement circles, and yet it is often overlooked or hastily considered at the conclusion of a project.
While evaluation takes time and resources and may be considered a low priority for your organisation, it can mean the difference between success and failure. Better still, evaluation can be entirely cost-effective.
Regular and effective evaluation at different points of the project is critical for a number of reasons:
- It provides valuable information on whether your project is reaching target audiences in the right way.
- You can assess the value of your methodologies and whether your budget is being spent wisely.
- You can create a benchmark for what works well and what doesn’t for future projects.
- You will gain credibility if you can demonstrate that your project is reaching its goals or you’ve shifted focus to reach goals.
- You will ensure transparency and accountability.
- When things don’t operate as expected, you can find answers and resolve the problem.
- You will cut long term costs by addressing problems or issues as they happen.
- The information will help you to develop more effective strategies or programs in the future.
5 evaluation techniques that won’t cost the earth:
- Surveys – tools such as Survey Monkey are cheap and easy to implement
- Feedback forms/email – ask participants to fill out a quick form or send an email requesting feedback post workshop.
- Verbal feedback – have a conversation and ask people up-front what they thought of a process/method and what their experiences were like
- Count – conduct an audit on how many responses you have received and from which groups
- Review responses – Analyse the responses and categorise to assess the ‘mood’ (for example positive/negative)