Learning and Evaluation/Archive/Connect/Questions/Archives/2013-08

What do you recommend for evaluation within all-volunteer organizations?

I am interested in program evaluation for my chapter, but I am concerned about creating an additional workload for our volunteers. It already takes considerable volunteer effort to run our chapter, and I don't want to risk alienating people by making them participate in evaluation in addition to all of the hard work they already do. What do you recommend to make program evaluation as little of a burden as possible? harej (talk) 11:50, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi James. Jaime, our Program Evaluation Specialist, is on vacation until Monday, so I'll do my best to provide some feedback. I know she'll have some good insight about this. This is one of the biggest concerns we've heard from the community. Even I worry about it. While I'm a staff member, I have been a program leader for a few years, as a volunteer. And the idea of evaluating the edit-a-thons I've done, after they are so time consuming, was something I hated doing unless forced to do it as a Wikipedian in Residence or to report funding to WMF. And even then - it's a chore. One of the things that we are aiming to develop here at PE&D is a work flow that you'll be able to use as a volunteer regarding different types of evaluation processes. In theory, every single program you do - from edit-a-thons to workshops, GLAM partnerships, etc - should have a theory of change, a logic model, and an evaluation process - this is a pre, during and post evaluation. ANd honestly, once you understand how all of this works, it's quite easy, and makes the process easier and easier each time you do a program. I'm currently working on a logic model for some events I"ve done in the past, and I realized that even the case studies I did as a Wikipedian in Residence have helped me become a better Wikipedian in Residence. Now I Know how to bang out a case study and a basic evaluation in a matter of hours, and when I'm done, it feels good. So we're working on it, and yes, once you get the jist of how to execute these things, it'll become a part of your workflow. At first it might take sometime, but, with organizational structures and better workflows, we can make it easier. /stops babbling. SarahStierch (talk) 21:59, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
And you were organizing in DC, so you know exactly what I'm talking about. :-) So the basic gist of what you're saying is, just integrate it seamlessly into everything else we do, and it will feel less like work. Should we adopt a form or some other sort of boilerplate to make it clearer what the goals are and what should be evaluated? (As I see it, one potential course of action is that rather than make people write out many pages of documentation from scratch, they can fill in the blanks based on what data we get out of events. Obviously that doesn't cover everything but it would provide a lot of guidance.) harej (talk) 00:47, 28 August 2013 (UTC)