Lesson 5: The Purpose of Program Evaluation

The purpose of program evaluation is to have a high level of accountability horizontally and beyond. In particular, an organization needs to be held accountable to its activities in compliance to its mission and objectives. On an external level-this is composed of four major elements which are transparency, justification, compliance and enforcement. Internal accountability is also instrumental in order to maximize productivity while performing organizational operations.  For this reason, it is essential to have the right framework in order to have a beneficial evaluation process. The three fundamental questions to ask are who, what and why, which brings us back to stressing the emphasis of a clear mission statement while understanding the intentions of program activities while keeping stakeholders present throughout the evaluation process.

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2 Responses to Lesson 5: The Purpose of Program Evaluation

  1. Thanks for sharing your post. Firstly, evaluation will help to create the clarity needed and lay a fact-based foundation for telling the nonprofit organization’s story. Subjective stories serve a purpose, but they do not “prove” the organization’s relevance to the community with the same credibility that evaluation does. Secondly, nonprofits are ultimately accountable to the public. Information age demands for more data and open communication – organizational transparency – will continue to increase. Thirdly, key stakeholders need to know that the organization is holding true to its mission through meaningful programs supported by sound management practices. Therefore, evaluation is the tool for demonstrating accountability.

  2. I agree with you regarding accountability and transparency in a program evaluation. I also want to add that program evaluation could help determine impact and outcomes; this can encourage program change and program development. Nonprofits have to collaborate with key stakeholders constantly to also to uphold certain trust and justification. As you mentioned, having the right framework and process is key for an evaluation.

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