Project Impact Frequently asked questions
Here are the answers to some of the top questions we get asked about Project Impact. Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Email us your question and we’ll answer it for you and add it to this list.
How long does Project Impact last?
Project Impact will provide a team of 3-5 people (talk to us if you’d like to include more) from your organization with graduate-level training in evaluation and individual coaching to walk you through each step of conducting an evaluation of your own program over the course of 8 months.
What will we accomplish during Project Impact?
Each team will choose a signature program or a primary area of impact to evaluate. Through the course of the project, evaluation strategies will be developed and piloted to collect data, determine findings, communicate impact, and produce data-informed program experiments and innovations. Through the process, the teams will grow the capability to design and implement further evaluations on their own.
At the completion of the project, each participating organization will have:
tested instruments and protocols for a signature program,
evaluation findings to communicate to stakeholders and constituencies,
an evaluation strategy for ongoing implementation,
internal capacity to design and implement evaluation, and the
enrichment of evaluation partnership with other programs.
Who should be on my organization’s Project Impact evaluation team?
We ask that you have a team of 3 to 5 people participate in Project Impact. At least one person on your team should be able to influence organizational direction and understands priorities and culture. We require that there be at least 3 people from your organization participate because 1) we’ve found that participating in this project builds the participants’ investment in the program and desire to make it better; 2) the more people from your organization that understand this evaluation process, the more likely it will be supported and sustained; 3) many hands make lighter work!
We’ve had everyone from executive directors and program directors to board members and volunteers participate in Project Impact. Some key questions that can help you determine if the person is a good fit for your evaluation team are:
Will they make a valuable contribution in this evaluation process?
Will being a part of this process have a benefit for them?
Will having them be a part of this process have a benefit for us?
What is the time commitment to participate in Project Impact?
Project Impact takes a time and energy investment from your team and you’ll get a lot in return! In addition to our eight half-day trainings, we estimate that teams will spend an additional 20-30 hours working together to build the evaluation tools for your organization outside of our instruction time.
There will also be time required to collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data for your program. This time commitment varies substantially per person based on the sample size you choose for your in-depth qualitative interviews and the number of people you have on your team. Each qualitative interview takes 1.5 to 2 hours (45 minutes-1 hour to conduct the interview, 15-20 minutes to write up your notes, and 30 minutes to conduct an initial analysis of your data) and interviews can be spread over the course of 6-8 weeks. On average, teams conduct 20-30 qualitative interviews, which adds up to an additional 30 to 60 hours divided among team members.
Having more team members enables you to spread this work across your team while ensuring you have a representative sample for your interviews. We are happy to help you train additional people to conduct interviews to help share the work and let them join the fun.
What will our schedule be like for our in-person workshops?
The in-person workshops will be a half-day (3.5 hours), with specific days/times set for each cohort. We’ll have a lot of content to cover in a short time, but we’ll be sure to squeeze in a few short breaks along the way.
What happens if I can’t make a session?
We encourage you to make every session, but also know that busy professionals have demanding schedules. We have a couple of strategies to make sure you can get the most out of the project even if you have to miss a day:
Tap into your team. Another reason that we ask you to have a team for Project Impact is that if one person misses, the rest of the team can keep things moving. Plan to meet with your team soon after the session you miss to have them share what they learned with you. It will be a great way for you to get caught up and for them to reflect on their learning!
Meet with your coach. You’ll have access to a coach throughout Project Impact to guide you through the process. If you miss a session, schedule a time with your coach to have her bring you up to speed and make sure you don’t miss a beat.
Watch webinar recordings. If you have to miss a webinar, don’t worry. We’ll record them for you to review later and your coach can answer any questions you have.
I don’t have an evaluation background. How will I be able to conduct an effective evaluation of my program?
We hear this a lot and we don’t believe you have to be an expert in research and evaluation to conduct a meaningful evaluation focused on the impact of your program. We’ve developed a method that’s worked for hundreds of people in hundreds of organizations who are not evaluators. We’ll teach you and you’ll have a coach who will guide you every step of the way. And it will even be fun!
Why don’t you just do our evaluation for us?
We love evaluation and we do take on evaluation projects from time to time ourselves, but we believe that evaluation is most powerful when it’s in the hands of the people who can act on it. We want you to have the tools to reflect on your impact and focus on how to make it even better. This is an act of leadership and we believe you should be the one’s leading your organizations toward a deeper impact, not us. Besides, we shouldn’t be having all the fun!