When it comes to evaluating your impact, do you feel intimidated?

Seven Pitfalls to Avoid in Evaluation (#2 = Intimidation) 

People don’t like math. (At least a lot of people don’t). So it’s natural for some nonprofit leaders to feel intimidated by the evaluation process. Unfortunately, sometimes they can feel intimidated by there consultant or demands from their funders.


In fact, some nonprofit leaders assume that the evaluator is “the expert” and should be in charge of what happens during the evaluation process. But as one helpful author says, ” Unless you articulate up front what decisions you hope to make coming out of the evaluation (or conversely, what questions you would like to answer), the evaluation will probably not be very useful.” You are the expert in this situation. You know your organization better than any outsider, and you know its needs.

Nonprofit leaders can also be bullied by their funders. I’ve heard nonprofit leaders say, “My top donor wants me to measure [one outcome], but other donors want me to track [another outcome.” Now I feel like I’m spread too thin and don’t know what to measure first!” The solution: Create a logic model and a theory of change. If this sounds like Greek to you (as it did to me when I first heard about it!), contact me for more details. But in shorthand, these are visual/verbal tools that help you clarify your organization’s mission, core activities, outputs, and outcomes.

This blog post is part of a series of 7 articles on “Seven Pitfalls to Avoid in Evaluation.” Check back next week for another one! 


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