Evaluating your agency’s program is an important and valuable part of ensuring your work with runaway and homeless youth is effective. Evaluation is also critical in developing more effective programs and interventions and demonstrating program efficacy to your board, clients, funders, and community. Program evaluation is somewhat like preventative care and aftercare; you have to plan and implement through the life of your program and services to get a true picture of how effectively you are achieving your outcomes and positively impacting the lives of young people. Program evaluation has several components, and these pages strive to provide useful information, tools, and resources to help with it.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like guidance on program evaluation, please contact RHYTTAC at [email protected].

Understanding Logic Models

Logic models document relationships in a visual manner. While not all logic models look the same, they all serve the same purpose: to graphically capture the assumptions as well as the cause and effect relationships that drive your organization’s work on a project or in a program.

Understanding Outputs and Outcomes

Understanding the difference between an output and an outcome is an important step in developing a valid and relevant logic model and evaluation plan for programming. Numbers are no longer enough and do not tell the “real” story of the impact of RHY programming. Both outputs and outcomes need to be identified in a good logic model.

Developing Performance Indicators

Indicators are specific and observable. To serve effectively as a bridge to data collection, indicators must be specific items of information that describe observable and measurable characteristics or changes in corresponding outcomes. Indicators must be measures that can be seen, heard, counted, reported, or enumerated using some type of data collection method.

Evaluation Tools and Resources

RHY grantees are encouraged to have an evaluation plan to determine whether their program is producing the desired outcomes. From the process of evaluation, unplanned-for benefits or areas for growth are more easily seen, allowing for programs to make necessary adjustments as well as acknowledge what is working and going well. Offered here is useful information on various aspects of evaluation as well as user friendly resources and articles to help guide you in developing or refining your evaluation plan.