Program Evaluation, at your Service.
Delivering individualized program evaluation consulting for nonprofits and foundations within the social sector, to help you figure out if you are accomplishing what you set out to do.
Drive Evaluation Studio has been trusted by
Whether you have a new idea, are in the midst of developing a program, or you have been running a program for some time, you may need to better understand the relationship between the idea, the activities, and the outcomes.
You may need someone to continue to make it better or evaluate its effectiveness; is it on target to meet its intended outcomes?
Perhaps you are investing in a portfolio of programs all intended to accomplish an overarching goal, and you are interested in what we can learn from this investment and these organizations’ efforts.
We understand the need for connecting the dots between your work, learning from your efforts, and achieving and communicating measurable changes.
you’re in the right place
Typically a 12 to 18 month engagement, evaluations commonly consist of data gathering, in-depth analysis, collaborative conversations, and presentation and discussion of findings.
"It has been such a pleasure working with Drive Evaluation. They really helped us think through exactly what data we wanted to evaluate and the right questions to ask our participants to ensure the most comfortability with the survey and the most clarity with the questions. We would highly recommend their services."
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REVIVE SOUTH JERSEY
"When our CFSJ team shares learning with colleagues in the social sector and inevitably are asked who helped us discern and learn, we recommend Elena and Drive Evaluation Studio."
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SOUTH JERSEY
*It all begins with an Inquiry…
Level-setting and Groundwork
Welcome to The Studio! At the core of the Studio is collaboration and a trusted partnership with you. With that in mind, shortly after our engagement begins, we connect and get to know the team members that will be a part of this project.
Through a kick-off meeting and series of initial discussions about the project, we dive right into asking that you share any and all background, information, and data relevant to our work together. This helps us understand where we have been in order to figure out where we are going.
Data Collection, Analysis, and Strategy
This is where the majority of our engagement will be, and it is what is completely customized to each client.
Depending on the goals of the project, we will carefully develop a timeline, scope, and plan to collect and analyze data. This could include primary data (things we collect) or secondary data (things you already have), and it could be qualitative (words), quantitative (numbers), or both (our favorite). Our primary data collection methods vary and often include surveys, focus groups, interviews, and/or real-time observations.
We will collaborate with you on what we are finding as we progress so we can all learn and iterate as we go.
Reporting, Reflection, & Where We Are Going
Reporting gets really fun. Like we customize our data collection, we customize our findings and report deliverables depending on the needs of each client and project – maybe it is a written report for you, a brief for your board, and a presentation to your staff. The last thing we want is a report that sits on a shelf and collects dust.
We will determine together what type of deliverable will be most beneficial – now and in the future. We will also ensure you understand the findings in a way that makes them actionable going forward. This gets us to where we are going – a place where you feel confident in the outcomes and are able to leverage the findings for your programmatic and communication efforts.
Examples of possible reporting methods: Executive summaries, briefs, 2-3 page reports, full reports, memos, visual presentation decks, infographics, etc.)
words from a
Drive Evaluation Studio Client
“For me, I compare conversations with Elena to taking a garden hose that is in a heap of tangles and getting it onto one of those racks where it all hangs perfectly, except my brain is the garden hose.”
Each evaluation engagement is a combination of structure and scientific methodology with flexibility and applied reality.
Whether you are a nonprofit, foundation, or other social sector client, we will apply the Studio’s vetted framework and approach for evaluation consulting, but we customize data collection, analysis, strategy, and reporting with the necessary phases to get us to your desired outcomes.
Level Setting & Groundwork
Two to four additional phrases “in the project” customized for each client to reach the intended outcome
Reporting and Reflection
Get Started with the Studio’s Evaluation Consulting
Inquire with the studio
To inquire with us to begin Evaluation Consulting, you can fill out our inquiry form by clicking on the button below. Once we receive your inquiry, we will respond as soon as possible and reach out to schedule a call to discuss your evaluation needs further.
We look forward to speaking with you!
+ What is your evaluation consulting process?
The process is unique to each engagement based on the client’s goals, strengths, needs, budget, and timeline. That said, all engagements will begin with level-setting and groundwork, and they will end with a reflection.
In the level-setting and groundwork phase, we operationalize our outcomes, talk about how we will work together, and use any existing information available to develop a foundation of knowledge.
In the reflection phase, we talk about what we learned and how it will be used, and we ensure the client feels empowered to continue their learning and evaluation efforts after our time together has ended.
There will be some additional phases (usually two to four) in between to get us to the intended outcome.
+ Why do you have phases in your process?
It’s good practice in communication to provide feedback in a “sandwich” - good stuff, constructive stuff, good stuff again.
This way, regardless of the feedback you are providing, you are following a roadmap to do it. We think of consulting in a similar way - the elements of each phase will vary, but having phases lets a client know what to expect, when to expect it, and where they are in the process at any moment.
Studio phases are typically designed to map to different parts of an engagement, so they provide a point to pause.
At the end of each phase, we ensure we are on track and we use what we learned in the previous phase to enhance what we are doing next.
And like “a feedback sandwich,” Studio engagements begin and end with specific things: we always start with level-setting and groundwork, and in the spirit of learning, we always end with a reflection.
+ How does the Studio think about cultural responsiveness?
We believe strongly in equity – the belief that all individuals, regardless of identity, deserve an equal opportunity to contribute to and thrive in our society. This is a through-line in our approach to evaluation, teaching, capacity-building, and practice.
In our work, we continuously consider and review instruments, analyses, and reports to ensure the language, methodology, and approach reflect the people with whom we are working and the audiences who might engage with the products.
More broadly in our engagements, we seek to understand how our culture, values, and experiences influence our perspectives and others’ experiences of and with us. We check our assumptions, we seek out perspectives that do not align with ours, and we acknowledge that we are working in context – in real life – that is laden with systemic inequities. With each new partnership, we learn and continue to do this work.
+ You reference “flexibility” often; what does that mean?
Many engagements are executed exactly as they are designed. Others have to shift to respond to organizational and external factors that impact them (staff changes, an extended program timeline, even a global pandemic).
For as much as we are rooted in and committed to strong methodology, we understand that your work is happening in real-time and in real-life. We also know that learning happens as we work and from multiple places.
So, for the Studio, flexibility means staying true to the engagement design that will get us to our intended outcomes while creating space for iteration based on what is happening around us as well as what we are learning as we progress.
+ How long is a typical evaluation process/project?
This can vary drastically by client and by type of engagement.
Evaluations are typically about 12 to 18 months, with a few that have lasted just four or five months and many that were multi-year efforts.
Training and Capacity Building engagements range from discrete workshops for organizations (one to two days) to multi-year engagements working with various cohorts of stakeholders.
Strategy Consulting engagements also have significant variability. These last at least three months and can go on for years. The record for longest Studio engagement is currently held by a long-term strategy consulting client - they have been working with the Studio for over seven years.
+ How often should we expect to meet with you?
As often as you’d like!
As part of our engagement, the Studio will provide you with milestones and levels of effort for each phase of our work together.The level of effort is the minimum amount of your time and effort that we will need to successfully achieve our collective goals.
We will ask to meet every time we transition between phases, whenever we have a deliverable, and in accordance with the level of effort and milestones we provide in our first phase.
Beyond that, we will design a communication calendar that fits your needs. Some clients prefer standing meeting schedules (these range from every other week to once per quarter), while others like ad-hoc meetings as we move into various pieces of our work.
+ How much should be allocated for a Studio engagement?
While the financial investment is an important question, it is hard to separate it from the scope and goals of the engagement.
As a benchmark, clients typically allocate about 10-15% of their programmatic budget for evaluation engagements.
However, we create customized and tailored engagements for each of our clients based on what they hope to accomplish, the complexity of the work, what they already have in place, and the resources they have available.
+ What if we need an evaluation consultant, but we do not have enough in the budget?
Good evaluation is an investment, but sometimes your funds have already been earmarked for other important purposes.
Consulting efforts can range in scale, scope, and intensity, and their cost can be drastically reduced if you have existing databases, established outcomes and indicators, and can potentially take on discrete pieces internally with some training and capacity building of staff.
Inquire with us to discuss what you already have that you can leverage and what engagements might be possible. Minimally, we can share some strategies that you can employ now to be ready for an evaluation consultant in the future.
+ We have data from a previous evaluation, can we start there?
That depends on many factors. We can definitely talk about this.
+ How do we get started?
Fill out our inquiry form for engagements, and we will be in touch.
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