Resources for Evaluation

Evaluation is the means to which nonprofits establish accountability to themselves, their clients and the public. Evaluation can be used to measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of an organization’s programs, as well as influence long-term planning, staff development, communications and fund development. In an era of accountability, a non-profit organization must be able to demonstrate to the community and their funders that their programs are making a worthwhile impact on society.

Evaluation is the means to which nonprofits establish accountability to themselves, their clients and the public. Evaluation can be used to measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of an organization’s programs, as well as influence long-term planning, staff development, communications and fund development. In an era of accountability, a non-profit organization must be able to demonstrate to the community and their funders that their programs are making a worthwhile impact on society.

There is a wide variety of evaluation tools and designs that nonprofits can choose from. For example, the outcome measurement approach has been a popular choice for many small and mid-sized organizations because of its accessibility to staff members who may not have extensive evaluation experience.

External Resources

Participatory Evaluation Resources

Outcome Evaluation Resources

  • The United Way of America
    A resource library of outcome evaluation tools, community indicators, reports and publications

  • Measuring Program Outcomes: A Practical Approach. 1996.
    A step-by-step guide for nonprofits; includes a glossary, worksheets, models and examples from various agencies

  • The Urban Institute

    • Hatry, Harry P. 2007. Performance Measurement and Getting Results, 2nd Edition. Urban Institute Press.
      A guidebook for nonprofit and government agencies with advice, checklists and examples on how to improve program performance through outcome measurement

    • Outcome Indicators Project: A Joint Project of the Urban Institute and the Center for What Works
      Provides examples and charts on how to measure nonprofit performance in 14 specific program areas, as well as a general list of outcome indicators that could be applied to any program; also offers a series on Outcome Management for Nonprofit Organizations that can be downloaded in PDF format and links to other performance measurement resources
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