Widening the Evaluation Lens to Assess Organizational Strength

Storyteller:

David Green
Executive Director, Free For All Foundation
Storyteller's Picture

Nimble and responsive to client needs, Free for All Foundation (FFAF) addresses the needs of a wide variety of community members. To accomplish this, they ensure their programs and partnerships are diverse and relevant. In terms of their readiness to evaluate, they make regular use of surveys to understand client satisfaction but found that they wanted to ensure that the surveys not only collect information for their funder but also serve the needs of their organization.

David Green, the dynamic Executive Director of FFAF, wanted PREP to help his organization, including their board of directors, strengthen their evaluation literacy. They had a robust strategic plan but wanted to see the connection between their goals and impacts of the programs.

In response to this need, PREP supported the development of an overall plan for evaluation as well as a review of the specific evaluation tools and approach they used for one of their major programs. In this way, PREP would leave them with a way to adjust their evaluation across the rest of their program offerings, using the evaluation plan as a roadmap.

David is a consummate storyteller and frequently shares the heartfelt and impactful stories of those whom FFAF has served. With this in mind, David also requested that PREP develop a story strategy so that he could make better use of client stories in support of his program outcomes.

During the development of the evaluation plan, the PREP team helped FFAF take stock of the data they collect and identified some areas of data collection that had been overlooked in the past.

“Before working with PREP, I thought of only one way of collecting data and that it was the best way. Working with PREP helped me understand there was a wide range of things we could be doing in collecting our data. There was important information we were overlooking. It gave me a better understanding of what we collect, how we collect it and how it can help us make decisions going forward.”

 Upon reflecting on the work his organization completed with PREP, David feels that FFAF is now able to see how evaluation results will tie back to their strategic plan in support of their strategic goals. This holistic approach to evaluation means they will go beyond just evaluating single programs, he reports. It’s a method that will enable him to look at the overarching system and how they’re doing as an organization.

One significant change to the evaluation approach that David sees having an immediate impact is PREP’s recommendation on new ways to highlight the diverse partnerships of FFAF and how they align to their strategic goals. David used this new lens to communicate these community connections more broadly as seen in their most recent annual report where he shared the length of time FFAF has been involved with each partner and to how these partnerships have been leveraged.

“Before working with PREP, we just looked at the number of clients we serve, and used their feedback to adjust the program. My knowledge has widened since then. I know now, it’s not just about clients but about the organization itself – it’s important that the organization be in a strong place and understand the impact it’s having.”