Evaluation of a program is one key to its success, not to mention a great tool to use when you are applying for grant funding. There are several methods and tools that can be used to evaluate a mentoring program. Some programs opt to hire a professional evaluation service, but there are some simple tools you can use if you are doing your evaluation in-house.
Goals-based evaluations begin with intensive planning that sets specific goals for the program in specific time frames. At the end of the time frame, the program makes a “report card” that shows which goals were completed satisfactorily, which are still in process and why deadlines were not met and goals that were not met. These results are used to set new goals for the program.
Client-based evaluation uses information collected from consumers of your program. In this type of evaluation, your company would employ tools such as questionnaires, service satisfaction surveys, and interviews. Information will be compiled and used to assess outcomes, determine benefit and identify needs.
Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluations
These two types of evaluations work well in tandem as they measure different aspects of your program. A quantitative evaluation measures how much, how often (i.e. 46 youth spend four hours each with a mentor per month), while qualitative evaluations measure how well components are completed or the “feel good” results (Of 50 youth, 46 report the quality of their life has improved as a direct result of the mentoring experience.)
Process-based evaluations are used to obtain an understanding of how a program works: how it does what it does successfully. If your program has gone through many changes over time, a process-based evaluation will help outline exactly how your organization has evolved, what processes are effective, and which ones need to be replaced or redeveloped.
Robin Devereaux has been writing professionally for more than 25 years. She has written for "The Sowell Review, "Health and Healing Magazine" and has been a contributor to several local Eastern Michigan publications. Robin is a graduate of the Central Michigan University Arts Program.