Evaluation is a critical tool for nonprofit organizations. A well-crafted program evaluation helps to ensure that programs are actually accomplishing their intended goals, provides accountability to funders, and helps map plans for the future.
Here in Greensboro, a newly developed partnership is helping ensure local nonprofits are prepared to effectively evaluate their programs. Researchers and evaluators at UNCG in the Department of Educational Research Methodology (ERM) and the SERVE Center are working with the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium to identify and respond to community evaluation needs. After two years of conversations with nonprofit executive directors and staff and foundation leaders, UNCG announced the launch of the Nonprofit Evaluation Support Program (NESP) in fall of 2014.
NESP guides Piedmont Triad nonprofit organizations in improving their effectiveness and better meeting their goals by providing services aimed at increasing their program evaluation activities and capacity. NESP services are delivered by program evaluation experts of the SERVE Center and UNCG graduate students specializing in program evaluation. Alongside these non-profit collaborations, NESP offers valuable hands-on learning experiences for future leaders in the field of program evaluation.
“We intend for NESP to help build long-term capacity in the community,” said Dr. Randall Penfield, ERM Department Chair. “NESP is in the position to provide program evaluation services at a low cost, and we can work with individual nonprofit organizations to develop a service delivery plan based upon their respective budget constraints.”
To date, NESP has hosted five pilot projects, providing over 1,000 hours of direct support to Backpack Beginnings, The Barnabas Network, The Music Academy of North Carolina, Aging, Disability, and Transit Services of Rockingham County, and the Central Carolina Health Network.
In the fall, NESP coordinated with the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium to offer various professional development and educational opportunities to nonprofit staff in the Triad. In August and September 2014 they facilitated educational workshops that focused on program improvement through evaluation, types of program evaluation methodology, data and decision making/storytelling, and a range of evaluative support options offered by NESP. More workshops will be available in this semester. Registration for all events will be made available at http://guilfordnonprofits.org/calendar/.
Any nonprofit or community-based organization interested in scheduling anintroductory consultation may contact NESP through the UNCG Referral Desk:
Details are at nesp.uncg.edu.
By Kristin Medlin, UNCG Institute for Community & Economic Engagement
Full story at http://communityengagement.uncg.edu/partnership-to-improve-nonprofit-evaluation-support-in-the-triad/.