Program Evaluation for the Homelessness Sector

Community Kitchen

Example

One of the main reasons organizations do program evaluations is because they would like to improve their program. They want to know whether their program is working the way they thought it was. They may also want to know if the program is engaging the intended stakeholders.

Here are some of the questions that the organization may want to find out about the community kitchen for pregnant youth described in the video.

Community Kitchen Example

Questions that the organization has about the program:

1. What kind of program is it?


2. What of the goals of the program?

3. Who are we expecting to use the program?

4. Who will deliver the program? Who are the other program stakeholders?

5. What do we want to find out?

6. Who uses the program?

7. What parts of the program are achieving your goals?

8. What about the program do participants enjoy?


9.  What Is the reason for doing the evaluation?

Reflection

Have you ever been involved with program evaluation? Did you help plan the evaluation? Perhaps your program was evaluated by someone else. Were you ever asked to evaluate a program as a participant? In any of these situations, what type of evaluation was it – formative, process or outcome?

An evaluation is conducted because you have questions about your program or service that you want answered. It is best if you begin to think about these questions early in the development of your program or service since it can take considerable planning to design a meaningful and feasible evaluation plan.

Community Kitchen Example 

Questions that the organization has about the program:

Q1. Who is using the program? 
Q2. Does cooking together develop stronger relationships among participants?
Q3. Would we achieve the same change if we delivered the program a different way using fewer resources?

In the example above, the first question could be answered with a process evaluation. To answer the second and third questions, you’ll need to plan for an outcome evaluation.

Be realistic of your needs, time, and resources when planning your evaluation questions and design. You may want answers to a wide variety of questions about your program or service. However, conducting an unfocused evaluation will be an inefficient use of both time and resources. Trade-offs will often have to be made to ensure the feasibility of the evaluation.