Making evaluation accessible: KMb at Child & Community Resources
Child & Community Resources (CCR) serves both urban and rural populations from Sudbury to the Manitoba boarder. At CCR, we’re constantly evaluating and reflecting. As part of a grant from the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, we set out to evaluate our therapeutic residential home program. Once the program evaluation was complete, we really wanted to share what we learned with the people who needed to know about it. Mobilizing our evaluation results in unique ways was a great opportunity to share both the hard work of our staff and the exceptional outcomes of the program with a wide range of stakeholders.
Impacting the right people with the right message
We targeted a few specific audiences, including our funders, our governing bodies, our staff and our clients (parents, caregivers and their children and youth). We wanted to focus on what really mattered: what our stakeholders needed to know, not what would be nice to know. To do this, we had to pay attention to the needs of our stakeholders. For example, we wrote in plain language that was easy to read and interpret.
How did you put your KMb initiative into action?
We invested about one or two weeks of our time to plan and mobilize this knowledge. We used a few different strategies to implement our KMb plan. We started with a comprehensive final report, which was a grant requirement for the Centre, and is available on the Centre’s website). We also wrote a one-pager for our external stakeholders, available on our website, which includes a link to the larger, comprehensive report. We also created a one-pager for our board of directors. We wanted these stakeholders to know what we learned, how we’re improving and what our action plan was moving forward.
In the field, we presented at the 2014 Canadian Evaluation Society conference. It included how to share evaluation results and strategies for working within budget limitations.
We also found some creative ways to share what we learned with our internal teams. For example, we made easy, fun and surprising items that staff could pick up and read, like cubes and door knockers. We also delivered presentations to staff and hosted a knowledge exchange forum.
Building buy-in and allies
Staff buy-in was essential for our efforts, especially at the front-line. Evaluation can often be a buzz word that can bring anxiety. Leadership support was a great facilitator. Our leadership and management teams do an exceptional job at ensuring evaluation results are used to inform practice at CCR. Their support and leadership is truly a driving force behind evaluation and reaffirms for our staff the importance of participating in, believing in and embracing evaluation! It helped staff understand how sharing our evaluation results can help make positive changes to our programs.
We also benefited from support from our external stakeholders. Sharing results with parents helped them understand why we did the evaluation and what the outcomes were. The Centre was also great in helping us get recognition, share and link up with other organizations.
Creatively overcoming challenges
We learned a lot about effectively reporting results. We really had to think about the best way to share what we learned with each of our individual stakeholder groups. It made us think outside the box and find unique ways to engage and communicate with our stakeholders to mobilize our findings.
We were really inspired by Kylie Hutchinson (Community Solutions). CCR also has a really creative team which helped with finding engaging ways to grab our stakeholders’ attention. It really helped that we knew our stakeholder groups and understood that they come from various educational backgrounds.
In order to measure the impact of our efforts, we asked. We did a meta-evaluation on the planning, implementing and sharing of results and practices. We asked our staff and stakeholders how they felt as they participated in each unique phase of evaluation. We really asked for feedback about the whole process, which allowed us to tailor each of those phases and knowledge mobilization events.
We also listened. As we shared our evaluation results with our community partners and the parents, caregivers and children we serve, we paid close attention to the feedback we received. This gave us valuable information that reflected the impact of our KMb efforts.
Want to know more about CCR’s KMb efforts? Get in touch!