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Evaluation

As entities that serve the public, nonprofit organizations have an obligation to demonstrate their value to the public good. The public has a stake in nonprofit performance and is entitled to information regarding organizational results. Nonprofits should regularly measure their performance both in terms of effectiveness, such as outcomes and results of services, and efficiency, such as service delivery systems, and should share such information with their constituents and the general public. Nonprofit evaluation should be appropriate to the size and activities of the organization, and evaluation data should be used to continually improve the quality of processes, programs and activities.
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 Staff Recommended
American Evaluation Association
Organization/Agency
Resources provided by this organization include professional evaluation information, external evaluator directory and the Principles for Evaluators.
Assessing Community Needs Toolkit
Community Toolbox
Guide/Tool
Extensive toolkit on assessing community need and developing collaboration.
Becoming a Data-Informed Organization
Assessment
An organization that is data-informed uses data to guide decisions with the goal of generating questions, making changes and improving outcomes. The following resources will help organizations assess how data-informed they are and how they can make better use of data to advance their missions.
Charting Impact
Independent Sector
Article/Blog, Assessment, Guide/Tool, Research/Report, Sample/Template
Designed around five simple questions, Charting Impact is a common framework designed to help staff, boards, stakeholders, donors, volunteers, and others to work together, learn from each other and serve the community better. It complements planning, evaluation, and assessment that organizations already undertake, and can be used by nonprofits and foundations of all sizes and missions.  Tools, resources, and webinars are available to support organizations in thinking strategically about each of the questions.
Checklist for Developing an Evaluation Budget
Evaluation Center
Guide/Tool
A guide to help nonprofits budget appropriately for evaluation activities.
Creative Ways to Solicit Youth Input
Public Profit
Guide/Tool
This guide provides step-by-step instructions to implement a variety of youth input activities.
Dashboards
Article/Blog, Sample/Template, Video/Tutorial
A dashboard is a tool for visualizing data. Some dashboards show performance over time while others provide a snapshot of  a particular aspect of a business. An effective dashboard illustrates rather than tells the audience about areas that need attention or action. There are diverse applications of and approaches to dashboards, and the following articles provide helpful tips and samples.
Effective Project Management: 3 Critical Activities
NTEN
Article/Blog
Some simple suggestions for anyone embarking on planning and managing a project for the first time.
eNonprofit Benchmarks Study
NTEN, M+R Strategic Services
Research/Report
An annually produced analysis of online messaging, fundraising, advocacy, social media and mobile metrics for nonprofit organizations.
Evaluating Advocacy
National Council of Nonprofits
A comprehensive list of resources and tools to help nonprofits evaluate the effectiveness of their advocacy efforts.
Evaluation Activities in Organizations
Free Management Library
Guide/Tool
A compilation of information, links and tools about evaluation strategies and activities.
Evaluation Handbook
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Guide/Tool
This handbook provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool.
Evaluation Terminology
Community Giving
Article/Blog
A helpful glossary of terms related to evaluation and measurement.
Finding and Managing Consultants and Vendors
Guide/Tool
The following resources will help you find and manage consultants and vendors, whether for a defined project, or ongoing support. If you need a referral for support on fundraising, strategic planning, legal issues, accounting issues, meeting facilitation, technology, or any other outside support, start here. (Many of the consultants and vendors in MANP's Yellow Pages offer nonprofit rates.)
Focus Groups
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Focus groups can be a useful strategy for gathering feedback from stakeholders, such as clients, supporters, staff, or volunteers. The following resources provide guidance to ensure you design an effective process.
Getting Started with Data-Driven Decision Making
Idealware
A free workbook that will help you identify what you want to measure and why, what metrics to use, how to communicate the results throughout your organization, and how to use data to plan.
Infographics and Data Visualization
Guide/Tool
In a world where people are constantly bombarded with information, it is increasingly important to design visuals that tell a story that data or words couldn’t have conveyed on their own. The following resources provide guidance on how to make clear and informative "infographics."
Innovation Network/Point K
Organization/Agency
Nonprofit evaluation and assessment support organization providing resources such as assessment and planning tools, consultation, articles, advice, personalized information, newsletter, and training.
Logic Models
Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
The following resources explain the concept of a logic model and how to use this tool to enhance program planning, implementation, and dissemination activities.
Maine Data Scan
Data Innovation Project
Research/Report
The Data Scan is a repository of accessible, free, reputable, and relevant data sources from around the State of Maine to help nonprofit organizations find data to inform their program planning, strategic planning and grant writing.
Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness
This free toolkit provides nonprofits with a framework for measuring their fundraising effectiveness. The framework outlines three primary measures, which together, provide a much more complete picture of an organization’s fundraising health. The toolkit includes a summary, discussion guide for boards, and tools for applying the measures to your organization.
National Center for Charitable Statistics
Organization/Agency, Research/Report
A national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States, including access to specific organizations' Form 990 data, and information on filing the 990.
Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
Organization/Agency
Resources and information on good practices in all areas of nonprofit management, including a section on volunteerism.
Outcomes Measurement
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool
Your nonprofit will only know that it is having an impact if it is evaluating its performance. Identifying and communicating impact is important. The following resources will help you more fully understand the purpose and practice of measuring outcomes.
The 6 Ds of Needs Assessments
Community Solutions
Guide/Tool
A simple overview of the key questions to address during a community needs assessment.
Using Data to Measure and Improve Programs
Idealware
Research/Report
This report provides case studies and best practices related to program evaluation and measurement. Find advice on what data to track and how to use what you're tracking to improve programs and services.
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