Measuring Effectiveness and Outcomes Using Evaluation Information
a. What are effective reporting strategies?

Unfortunately, many people collect and report evaluation information but don't use it effectively for advocacy or marketing efforts. Even if you don't meet your objectives, evaluation information can help you highlight the successes and provide rationales for program changes or need for additional resources. Sharing information with program staff and partners is as critical as sharing it with administrators and funders. CDC recently published a great resource: Impact and Value: Telling Your Program's Story.

Qualitative information makes reports more interesting. People generally remember personal stories and descriptions rather than numbers, so "put a face" on your quantitative information using stories, photos or graphics. Highlight how individuals or communities have benefitted from your program. Look at program reports or annual reports from other agencies and see what catches your attention. Short reports are more apt to be read than long, complex reports. Use of a question/answer format is sometimes effective.

Although tables and graphs are a good way to display comparisons or increases and reductions in rates or services, the general public often has a difficult time interpreting them. Make sure they are easy to read, simple to understand and don't combine too many variables. You may need to supplement the tables with a narrative description of the key points or findings.

Consider using short case studies to report qualitative (with some quantitative) information on your program. These can focus on your entire program or just one aspect. Case studies are best used:

Suggested Outline for a Case Study

Background/overview of program or problem being addressed
Rationale, with mission and vision
Goals and objectives
Target population
Project design or methodology
Program administration
Program implementation
Evaluation measures, methods, results, how results are used