- Finds what works and what does not work in the program.
- Identifies the effectiveness of a program to the community and to funders.
- Improves staff’s frontline practice with participants.
- Increases a program’s capacity to conduct a critical self-assessment and plan for the future.
- Builds knowledge for the important work to be done.
Why do it?
While conducting an evaluation may seem complicated, expensive, or even overwhelming, it is important to remember that program evaluations serve as tools to improve programs. Simply put, program evaluations are conducted to make programs better. Evaluations benefit programs at every stage of implementation.
For start-up programs, evaluations can provide process data on the successes and challenges of early implementation; and, for more mature programs, evaluations can provide outcome data on program participants.
While evaluation is not without challenges, the information obtained from a program evaluation can help to streamline and target program resources in the most cost-efficient way by focusing time and money on delivering services that benefit program participants and providing staff with the training they need to deliver these services effectively. Data on program outcomes can also help secure future funding.
Finally, sharing findings and lessons learned will assist programs in achieving their goals.