Program and Project Evaluation

The Role of a Community and Collaborative Partner in Evaluating Programs

While you have objectives about what you hope to achieve with the project, you are not the only stakeholder. After you have reflected on your experience in terms of your goals and objectives, recorded it, gathered the data and created a document summarizing your findings, coordinate two or three meetings.

1. A meeting with your collaborative partner

At this meeting go over the collected data. Have a discussion about what worked and what didn’t. You may discuss:

What worked: What really worked for this project? Was it the time? Location? Type of project? Special event?

Areas of concern: What areas need your attention in the future? Storage? Com- munication? Snack preparation?

New objectives, things to improve: Looking at the successes and problems, what are the new project objectives from a planning and artistic perspective?

2. A meeting with participants

Meet with participants and share your data, and what you think worked and didn’t work. Ask them for their input.

  • What did they like about the project?
  • Did they feel safe?
  • Are they interested in working on another art project?
  • What stopped them from coming some days?
  • What kinds of work are they interested in creating?
  • Did they like the location of the workshops?
  • Any other ideas?

3. A meeting with the community

Organize a community conversation in your community. Invite everyone involved, as well as the community at large. The beginning of this meeting is a presenta- tion. Present your data, the new objectives determined by you and your col- laborative partner, what the participants say they need. Then open it up for suggestions.

One successful format is to start with a short presentation. Then offer tea, coffee and snacks. Arrange four to six tables in the room, each with one large piece of paper on it. In the middle of the paper write a word or phrase you want people’s input on, like “fundraising”, “art project”, “engagement” or “space”. Ask people

to divide themselves into groups and ask one person at each table to be the recorder. Then give them five minutes to share all their ideas about that topic. The recorder writes it all down. After five minutes ask participants to move to another table. The recorder briefs the group on what was already said and they have five minutes to give more ideas. Continue until everyone has been to every table. Then ask the recorders to share what was discussed.

Have a group conversation about the top three to five ideas on each topic. Ask people which things they are interested in helping with and get their contact infor- mation. It is unlikely that every idea that comes up will happen. But, this is a great way to meet and gauge who wants to help and with what.

Be sure to give a timeframe for the next steps, so you don’t lose interested people!

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