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The purpose of this blog is to discuss how research and evaluation can serve your organization. This blog is:

  • Reflects the expertise and insights of REC
  • Meant to help those interested in deepening their research and evaluation skills
  • Provides tips, tools, and information to strengthen research and evaluation practices
  • Not a replacement for specialized training or higher education

  • 5 Tips for Communicating Your Impact
    Identifying and showcasing the content that matters most is crucial for effective communication in your organization. This blog post provides five tips to communicate your organization’s impact as part of your communication strategy. Tip #1: Know Your Audience Before drafting an impact report or email campaign, make sure you know your audience. Here are some […]
  • 5 Tips for Creating a Survey
    Surveys are fantastic tools for evaluation. They help your organization determine what is working, what can be improved, and provide information to tell your story of impact. Surveys also allow for more complex analyses using descriptive and inferential statistics. This blog provides 5 tips for creating a survey when your organization isready for evaluation and […]
  • When to Hire an External Evaluator – A Checklist!
    The Decision Should your organization hire an external evaluator or evaluation firm? The answer is that it depends. When to Work with Internal Staff Some nonprofits are poised to conduct evaluation internally. These organizations have qualified staff who know how to conduct evaluations, design surveys, collect data, analyze findings, and report results. Often, these individuals […]
  • Program Evaluation Helps Nonprofits
    Important Questions How do you know your organization is making a difference? How do you decide what programs or services to offer? What do you tell your funders? How do you know your organization is ready to evaluate?  Program Evaluation Informs Decisions These are all important questions and ones that nonprofit leaders grapple with daily. Whether you […]
  • Ready for Evaluation!
    How do you know when your organization is ready for evaluation? Implementing evaluation is something that takes time, planning, and support. All nonprofits can benefit from an evaluation. However, not all are ready for evaluation. This blog discusses 4 tips that will help your organization assess whether you are ready for an evaluation or can […]
  • 6 Benefits of Evaluation
    Evaluation is a powerful tool for nonprofit organizations. In fact, evaluation is the “secret sauce” that differentiates organizations that thrive versus those that only survive. Additionally, evaluation can be a catalyst for positive change. For example, REC worked with a client for three years. At first, there were some reservations about data and using evaluation. […]
  • 6 Evaluation Solutions
    In Part One of this blog series we discussed six key challenges that can arise when conducting evaluations in the research world. Evaluation work is tough; mistakes can be made, big complications can arise and the challenges can feel overwhelming. Here we discuss solutions to the evaluation challenges that we highlighted in Part One, which […]
  • 6 Evaluation Challenges
    In the world of research, evaluations are paramount. But what exactly is an evaluation? At REC we think of evaluations as systematic methods for collecting, analyzing, and using the information to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of projects, policies, and programs. In an ideal research world, evaluations are carried out perfectly and the results are […]
  • EE: What the Experts Say
    In Part One of our two-part series on a new approach to evaluation, we found that defining exactly what equitable evaluation (EE) is has proven to be somewhat complicated. In this post we will highlight what some of the experts in this growing field are saying about the nuances of equity in the evaluation process […]
  • Equitable Evaluation (EE)
    What is Equitable Evaluation? Cultural competence, multi-cultural validity, applying an equity lens, these are all central concepts to a relatively new approach to evaluation—equitable evaluation (EE). So, just what is EE? The answer is, it is complicated. At a base level, EE is evaluation work that strives to limit inequality, bias, and oppression in race, […]
  • Program Evaluation: Nonprofits’ Needs Versus Donor’s Requests, Part 2
    As discussed in Part 1, there are often differences in the ways that donors view program evaluation when compared to how nonprofits wish to use evaluation (Zinn, 2017). Donors view evaluation as an accountability measure and prefer evaluations that are rigorous, conducted by third-party experts, and focus on long-term outcomes (York, 2005). However, nonprofits prefer […]
  • Program Evaluation: Nonprofits’ Needs Versus Donor’s Requests, Part 1
    Why do you evaluate your programs? To provide accountability to your donors? To measure what you’re doing right or wrong? To gain access to more funding? Well, if you work for a nonprofit organization, you probably identified with several of these goals. However, your reasons for conducting a program evaluation may differ dramatically from that […]
  • Tips for Conducting Qualitative Interviews
    Think for a minute about your best job interview experience. What made it stand out? The respect, the warmth, the empathy, the knowledge gained and shared? All of these are elements of a successful job interview and they are also critical elements of conducting a successful qualitative interview. A qualitative interview is a method of […]
  • An Informal Evaluation of 2017
    It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already over! REC was involved in so many different kinds of research and evaluation projects this past year. From early childhood education programs to evaluating services for older adults, REC was able to apply our quality research and evaluation skills to help the nonprofit community. As founder and […]
  • 4 Data Collection Methods – Pros and Cons
    It’s important to understand that there are pros and cons of each type of data collection method. To determine which type of data collection method is best for you, first review your priorities, and decide what kind of data you want to obtain at the end of your collection. Then ask yourself a few key […]
  • 4 Data Collection Methods
    Once you understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative data it is helpful to understand the variety of methods you can use to gather your data. Data collection methods are tools that help organizations collect quality data. When these tools are applied accurately, organizations can be confident in their data. The list below provides the most common […]
  • Quantitative Versus Qualitative Data
    You feel ready to collect data. You’ve figured out what question/s you need to answer are ready to select a method (i.e., survey, interview) to collect your data. Before taking this important step, let’s talk a bit more about qualitative and quantitative data. The previous post What is Quantitative and Qualitative Data? focused on the […]
  • What is Quantitative and Qualitative Data?
    Two Types of Data When people discuss data, they typically describe it as either quantitative or qualitative. Yet, what is quantitative data? What is qualitative data? How are these two types of data different? Is one type of data better to use than the other? Why should this topic matter to nonprofit professionals? This blog […]
  • Collecting Quality Data – 4 Questions
    So you are excited to begin collecting quality data for your organization. That’s great! The information you collect has the power to demonstrate your impact, inform decisions, and improve your programs. Yet, what do you need to ask yourself before you get started? There are a number of methods to collect quality data. Some data […]
  • 6 Tips to Collect Quality Data
    When organizations collect poor data, they get poor results. Too often, I’ve seen examples of bad surveys, forms, and questionnaires that at best contain some useful information and at worst generate meaningless information. What’s the point of collecting data when it is incomplete, inaccurate, and riddled with error? How can organizations make good decisions when […]
  • Article Credibility Checklist
    After writing my last blog post, I realized that it may still be difficult to determine which online articles represent fact or fluff. So, I created an article credibility checklist! This tool is designed to measure the credibility of articles that discuss findings from research studies. By using this tool, you should be able to […]
  • Identifying Quality Information in a Quantity World
    When I first began college, I thought that most of the information I found online was credible – especially when the author described findings from a research study. I assumed that if something were presented in the media using phrases like “researchers report that…” or “study finds that…”, it was true. What I learned over […]
  • How Tracking Time Increases It!
    Time has been on my mind a lot lately. My last post Getting Things Done focused on strategies to relax your mind so you can be more productive. This post provides some great advice I received when I was in graduate school that changed the way I manage and organize my time. Early in my […]
  • Getting Things Done
    Time is limited As you read this post, there are probably dozens of things you could, should, and wish you were doing for time management. There seems to be this endless flow of information, obligations, and unexpected events that pull us in multiple directions. Life can be overwhelming and the boundary between your work life […]
  • Demystifying Research and Evaluation
    I am a researcher, evaluator, and consultant trained in the academic world. I spent years of my life learning the language of research and evaluation, and I’ve read through more empirical studies and manuscripts than I can recall. The purpose of this blog is to demystify various research and evaluation topics and findings. These blog […]