“What you value, you measure” is a truism. But knowing what and how to measure is not always obvious. Measurement can be quantitative or qualitative, done over time or in a snapshot. When done with intention and rigor, it measures progress and points the way to the future.
Good evaluation begins with clarifying the change you want to make and how your organization’s work contributes to making that change reality. What’s more, it recognizes that “culture is central to economic, political, and social systems, as well as individual identity. Thus, all evaluation reflects culturally influenced norms, values, and ways of knowing.” (AEA statement on Cultural Competency) When done well, in a culturally appropriate way, evaluation can identify meaningful outcomes and measure progress appropriately, giving you the information needed to understand what is working, what isn’t working and why, and how to plan next steps.
Our evaluation approach integrates the principles of evaluative culture to assessing impact. When we do an evaluation, we:
- Ask clear questions and ask the right questions for your situation
- Consider the relationships between and across systems that influence how your work unfolds and the impact you have
- Design data-collection methodologies that are both responsive to your communities and get the information you need
- Support data collection efforts that leverage your internal capacity and align with your culture
- Conduct analysis appropriate to the data and your capacity
- Collaborate with you to arrive at findings that align with your objectives
- Deliver actionable findings designed to inform your decisions and future activity
- Make explicit the values and cultural norms that influence how you think about and do your work