Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2379011
 


 



Evaluation in Context: Reflections on How to Measure Success of Your 'WNM' Program


Justin Reich


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning

Sandra Cortesi


Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Paulina Haduong


Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Urs Gasser


Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

January 14, 2014

Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-4

Abstract:     
Evaluation is the systematic investigation of the effects that your program has on the lives of people touched by your program. The process of designing an evaluation system benefits your program by clarifying your goals and identifying indicators of progress towards your goals. The results of evaluation provide program staff with important evidence that can shape a reflective process of iteration and improvement. The products of evaluation are also vital for demonstrating to philanthropists and grant-makers the value of their charitable investments.

For many non-profit programs, evaluation is foreign and scary. We plunge into public service out of a passion for serving people, not because we want to gin up data for analysis. For those whose work depends upon the charity of others, evaluations run the risk of revealing weaknesses and limitations. Many people can be intimidated by the quantitative aspects of evaluation or feel that numerical summaries of work can obscure the transformative impact of programs on individual lives.

But the best non-profit agencies are learning organizations, committed to a constant cycle of experiment, inquiry, reflection, and refinement. By studying our programs, testing our assumptions, and gathering evidence of our impact and shortcomings, we have the opportunity to do our work even better. We can use evaluation to engage a growing audience of philanthropists and grant-makers who want to invest in programs committed to gathering evidence of their effectiveness.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16


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Date posted: January 15, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Reich, Justin and Cortesi, Sandra and Haduong, Paulina and Gasser, Urs, Evaluation in Context: Reflections on How to Measure Success of Your 'WNM' Program (January 14, 2014). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2379011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2379011

Contact Information

Justin Reich
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Office of Digital Learning ( email )
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
Sandra Clio Cortesi (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )
Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Paulina Lanchi Haduong
Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )
Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Urs Gasser
Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )
Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
HOME PAGE: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/ugasser.html
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