Evaluation is an essential part of the life of your club for two reasons:
- It helps you to find out what you are doing well and what you could do better.
- It also provides you with interesting and sometimes essential information for funders and supporters.
Successful evaluation requires you to review the clear aims and objectives that you agreed early on in the project and assess your performance against them.
You need to remind yourself of what you are trying to do before you can find out if you are doing it well.
You also need to be very clear about why you are carrying out any specific piece of evaluation.
Who's the information being gathered for and exactly what are you trying to find out?
It's essential that you are very specific about what you need to know – the answers that you get during evaluation are very dependent on the questions that you ask.
Measurements can be either:
- Qualitative (assessing the quality and value of achievements) e.g. users' opinions of the club; how much fun the club is; whether the club is providing activities that they enjoy; what kind of opportunities they have had to learn new skills.
- Quantitative (counting the number and type of achievements) e.g. number of young people using the club, takings at the shop, events and activities provided and numbers attending.
Information can be collected by a variety of means e.g. using the regular records you keep as part of your business administration; via informal discussion and feedback; through workshop meetings that focus on a particular topic; through questionnaires or feedback forms about your facilities and service.
It doesn't have to be complicated – you can hold occasional informal meetings with young users and parents to evaluate some aspects of the club – in particular, practical issues like opening times and transport to the club.
Evaluation is an essential part of keeping your youth club on track.
It will help you to keep a sharp eye on where you've been so that you know where you're going!
Step 7. Worksheet and things to do.