The following highlights the most common evaluation audiences, provides a description of the type of information that is most relevant to each audience, and describes the best ways to convey information based upon your audience.
Program Staff: Program staff should receive ongoing information on program implementation, participation, and participant outcomes (i.e., immediate outcomes) in an understandable format and on a regular basis. If program staff don't have a sense of how they are doing until the end of the evaluation, they cannot make the necessary changes to help your program meets its goals.
Work with your program staff to decide what kind of information is most relevant (e.g., participation, dosage, participant feedback, pre- and post-test differences) and how this information should be delivered. For example, you may prefer visual data (tables, charts and graphs) or narrative form. Be sure to communicate these needs to your evaluator.
Funders: Reports to funders are important because they indicate whether publicly-funded programs are achieving their objectives. They are also often used to make future funding decisions. Your evaluator will need to prepare a readable, informative, and properly caveated report. Include a program narrative to describe what the program is and how it was implemented. Supplement quantitative findings on participation rates and participant outcomes with qualitative findings (such as quotes and anecdotes) to paint a picture of the program and the kinds of experiences participants had.
Ask your evaluator to include an executive summary that captures the highlights of the report in a couple of pages. The report should also have clear and informative tables and graphs and include a technical appendix because funders may have differing levels of understanding and interest in some of the statistical analyses used in the evaluation.
The Public: You can gain considerable traction and press for your program by reaching out to the general public. Options include press releases, editorials, soliciting media interviews, writing an evaluation article for the program sponsor's (school, community-based organization) newsletter, and buying print, air, internet or TV advertising space.
When crafting a message for the public, it's important to strike a balance between providing enough background information about MRE and evaluation that they can understand your results, and not overwhelming the message with jargon and unnecessary detail. Personal stories and quotes from qualitative methods help to "put a face" on your program.
The Academic Community: Your evaluator may also want to publish findings in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Discuss with your evaluator-preferably during the Planning Stage-about their intentions to publish the evaluation findings in order to clarify expectations upfront regarding uses of the evaluation data and to secure the necessary IRB approvals.
- Disseminating Program Achievements to Garner Support Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Getting Your Evaluation Results Published Administration for Children and Families
- Miron, G. (2004). Evaluation report checklist. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, The Evaluation Center.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation. The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation Glossary.