Tools & Collection Specifics
Want to work offline?
Reading time: Approx 75 minutes plus Self Study Question time
The Tools and Collection Introduction
As peer organisations, we need to know where it is we are heading (our vision) and determine the way we will get there. In our journey so far, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) has been introduced as a way of understanding our destination and of thinking about how we structure our journey there. The BSC enables peer organisations to gather evidence about where they are relative to where they want to be. It acts as a kind of compass to assist each unique peer program to navigate their way based on their purpose, program design and concept of success.
In our last Training Package section ‘Why, What, Who and When of Gathering Evidence’, we asked peer organisations to reflect upon what is most important for their success in how they are currently performing (Funders, Members), in which ways it may improve its processes, motivate and educate employees, and enhance systems (Build) as well as, its ability to learn and improve, now and into the future (Learning). Within the four BSC perspectives, you undertook a series of steps and decisions that will be unique to your own peer organisation. You contemplated a range of questions regarding your destination, your concept(s) of success and started to think about the ways in which you can gather the evidence you need to answer these questions.
Every peer organisation chooses its own objectives under each of these four BSC perspectives. Once selected, we then need to consider how we will make a judgement about whether we have met that objective. What will show us if we have reached each of our goals? Is it someone’s opinion, a figure in a financial statement, or even receiving an ILC grant? The BSC enables us to see that it could be all three, along with many others as well. We can assess every objective within each perspective but to do this we need to be clear about what we think is the best way of measuring them all - individually and collectively.
In the self study questions, you considered the fundamentals needed to develop tables for each of the four perspectives that listed your objectives and their measures (or ‘indicators’). Some of these indicators were an opinion of someone, others were a collected figure, for example, in the form of group attendance or number of new members. It may be there is a measure of a specific objective, which is already compiled as a component of your regular program management.
It is likely that, for at least some of your objectives, you will be asking for feedback from a stakeholder, such as a peer group participant, one of your team members, or potentially even a donor. In these cases, we need to determine how we will assess the indicator, using some form of tool. Gathering evidence on specific objectives will often require the use of tailored and relevant instruments. Within this section of the Training Package, continue our journey as we contemplate tools, as well as, the specifics of gathering evidence.
Initially we will explore the considerations based around our evaluation planning, including:
- The primary considerations, pertaining to, the ethics of collecting evidence from individuals; and,
- The issue of resources when it comes to gathering evidence.
Once we are comfortable with the fundamental principles, we then move on to thinking about the specific tools and techniques available to us for harvesting the evidence we need for our journey.