Florida Atlantic University
Nonprofit Resource Center
Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is an essential task for non-profit organization. It is a tool your organization can use to ensure that the programs you are currently running are serving the mission of your organization and are achieving maximized results. Program evaluation can alert you to trouble areas before they become unmanageable. It can also assist you in determining how best to allocate resources. The links below should be helpful in developing, implementing, and utilizing the results of program evaluation.

This site contains a basic guide to program evaluation. It provides guidance toward planning and implementing an evaluation process for for-profit or nonprofit programs. A useful table of contents allows you to jump directly to portions of the document in which you are interested.

This site provides a checklist of things to consider when developing a program evaluation. It allows you an opportunity to think critically about what information you will need to collect, who will benefit from the evaluation, and how you will go about conducting the evaluation.

A report from the American Evaluation Association Task Force on Guiding Principles for Evaluators. Articulates a set of principles that should guide the professional practice of evaluators, and that should inform evaluation clients and the general public about the principles they can expect to be upheld by professional evaluators. Principles discussed are systematic inquiry, competence, integrity/honesty, respect for the people, and responsibility for general and public welfare.

Document provided by the American Evaluation Association regarding Program Evaluation Standards. Utility standards, feasibility standards, propriety standards, and accuracy standards are discussed.

A listing of recent publications produced by the University of Melbourne Centre for Program Evaluation. A link is included that allows you to access information on publications from as far back as 1994. Although you cannot access the articles, books, journal articles and other publications electronically from this site, complete bibliographical information is provided which will make it easy to locate the publications at your local library.

An extremely thorough guide to program evaluation produced by Evaluation Associates Ltd. Contains a table of contents that allows you to jump directly to the part of the document you wish to view. Starts with a four-sentence description of evaluation that condenses the main purposes, nature, and benefits of the evaluation process. www.lesley.edu/perg.htm Homepage for an organization that conducts program evaluations for a variety of clients. Detailed information is provided regarding how the organization conducts an evaluation. This organization’s services are probably best utilized by non-profits involved with the arts, education, and community centers. www.mande.co.uk/news.htm A news service focusing on developments in monitoring and evaluation methods relevant to development projects with social development objectives. This is a site managed in the United Kingdom.

Full-text publications in PDF format available for download; targeted to evaluators assessing extension programs, but resources have general evaluation appeal, as well. Practical, easy-to-use guides designed to help Extension faculty better plan and implement credible and useful evaluations. They also may be useful to agencies or funders who are seeking assistance with realistic evaluation strategies. Disregard the prices listed to each title; if you click on the link your Adobe Acrobat Reader will open the document at no charge.

A glossary of terms used in program evaluation. Terms are defined in the context of evaluation.

A listing of measurement tools provided by The Measurement Group. These instruments will be most helpful to non-profits involved in some aspect of health services.

Four chapters about evaluating community programs and initiatives. The chapter entitled “Introduction to Evaluation” is a particularly useful overview of evaluation issues such as choosing evaluators and developing an evaluation plan.

A useful guide to evaluation as a research method. Presents an overview of what evaluation is and how it differs from social research generally and introduces several evaluation models. Also addresses some of the issues a group or organization needs to address in order to develop an evaluation culture that works in their context.

Links to many useful online courses in the area of program evaluation. There is a segment devoted to non-profits in particular, but many of the other topic headings will lead you to information your organization may find useful. In particular, try the topics under the headings “Fundamental Concepts” and “Types of Evaluation.”

This is a transcript of An Evaluation Workshop on Planning and Constructing Performance-based Evaluations. It is focused primarily on federal and state funded programs, but the principles addressed are applicable to non-profits. The intent of the transcript is to provide you with information that will enable you to manage programs more effectively and efficiently and that, ultimately, will help you to improve your program’s performance. The table of contents for the report is linked to the different sections of the transcript, allowing you to jump directly to sections of interest.

This site has links to information about program development. The links for “Evaluation and Accountability” and “Reporting Evaluation Results” are most useful for this topic, but the other links may be useful to your organization during the evaluation phase. This site is maintained by the University of Florida.

This manual covers monitoring and evaluation policies and procedures. The final section, on evaluation, follows the stages of an evaluation: planning, managing, conducting and using the results of evaluations. This publication was produced by UNICEF, and details processes used in their organization. It is useful as an example of how one organization conducts program evaluation, and it can be applied throughout the non-profit sector.

The Toolkit is designed to assist programs in meeting key evaluation needs. Chapter topics include data analysis and collection, reporting, and instrument development. Chapters can be downloaded individually in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat Reader required; site provides a direct link to download the Reader if you do not have it already).

This site is maintained by the United States General Accounting Office. Under the heading “Planning and Methodologies” you will find links to several PDF files (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) that address program evaluation.

Guide Prepared by Jody Tuttle