Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Thank you for contacting us at Ask an Advisor. We’d be happy to give you some general tips and resources for starting your evaluation.
An outcome evaluation aims to assess the effectiveness of the program. Therefore, you should start planning your evaluation by reviewing your objectives and program goals. This will help you identify which components of the program need to be evaluated. When considering objectives and program goals, you may want to consider your stakeholders (the various people and organizations which have a vested interest in the program): what program outcomes do stakeholders care about?
Since you state you are interested in evaluating the program at the community level, we assume that your objectives are tied to community impact. Once you’ve outlined your objectives and goals, you’ll need to determine what community-level data would provide an assessment of each, and identify a plan to collect your data. If you are looking to assess program impact, make sure to consider both intended and unintended consequences, either positive or negative. It is possible that data collected by other agencies (e.g., a state or county health department) can be used to assess your program. For each objective, you’ll need to determine whether there are existing community indicators which would both accurately assess your program and would be available to you. Then, you can contact the identified agencies to obtain access to the data.
The Community Tool Box has plenty of resources available to assist you in drafting an outcome evaluation. You may want to read Chapter 36, Section 1: A Framework for Program Evaluation, A Gateway to Tools; Chapter 36, Section 5: Developing an Evaluation Plan for a general overview; Chapter 38, Section 9: Gathering and Using Community-Level Indicators; and Chapter 38, Section 10: Some Examples of Community-Level Indicators. Toolkit 12: Evaluating the Initiative will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to conduct an evaluation. Best of luck with your work!