| Client focused research solutions
Helping professionals thrive
How do you convince funding agencies that your program should have continued funding?
How do you convince upper management that your staff provides programs and services that will meet the needs of your client?
How do you convince your staff that some programs could be better? How do you build program evaluation and research into your organization's regular activities?
What information would you need to have to convince others that your program works? Most organizations collect information that will help them answer these questions. Managers want to know:
How many clients enter their doors?
What type of issues their clients face?
How many staff meets with how many clients?
How many programs they run and how many clients attend them?
- Are existing gaps in service?
- What could be done to improve services and programming?
In fact, often managers have charts, files and computers filled with data, and want to package it so the information is clear, succinct and useful. Frequently, however, the data is disorganized and difficult to access. Here's the biggest challenges that contributes to collecting program evaluation data.
Many direct-line/clinical staff don't fully recognize how program evaluation activities directly benefit their clients. They don't want to burden their clients by spending clinical or program time collecting data.
Direct-line/clinical staff often feel overwhelmed with providing services, so why would they want to add more forms, charting and computer entries to their already busy day.
Staff and Management want to get started, but are unsure of how to begin...
How many clients from which programs they should evaluate?
How should they measure the outcomes?
How should they analyze the collected data?
How should they present the completed project to their staff, colleagues, community boards and funding agencies in order to achieve maximum impact
Clean, Concise, Clinically Relevant Data= Convincing Information
There are many ways to solve these problems:
Develop data collection tools that WORK for the front line staff in their daily activities. An example might be that a computer programs can track the organization's intake data to generate intake reports, AND generate relationship-building tools (posters, cards) for client and service providers. Measurement tools can be used to help the clients evaluate their own progress AND provide program evaluation outcome data.
- Organizations can slightly improve current data collection procedures to provide administrative AND program evaluation data collection at the same time. These dual-purpose tools make ethical and practical sense, as clients and staff are providing the information one time - in one place.
Mangers can encourage staff to question the effectiveness of programs for clients. Some questions may be:
Management can encourage staff interested in long-term organizational planning to get involved in developing program evaluation projects they find clinically relevant. It is important to develop the internal staffing group's capacity while learning when and how to use outside consultants. Program evaluation findings and posters can be incorporated into retreats and staff days so that these staff can get recognition, and other staff gets to learn more about the work. Ultimately, you want to develop a feedback loop between all members of your organization that makes program evaluation activities relevant and useful to the primary goal of providing better services to the clients. To do that, you need to convince the direct care staff that research is not a rarefied activity done in ivory towers. Small, practical steps can accomplish program innovations and program evaluation information provides the tools to help you know how to make the next move.