Three Ways to Win an Evaluator's Heart

We’re back with a special Valentines’ Day edition of the Carpe Diem blog. Or, more appropriately, an EVAL-ENTINES’ Day edition!

Love is in the air, so today we’re talking about relationships. How would you describe your relationship with your favorite evaluator? Friendly? Collegial? Non-existent?

Does it even matter?

Evaluators are great resources. Not only can they help you think through data collection procedures and instruments, data analysis, reporting, and impact, they also have worked on a lot of different projects over the years. That experience means they know what works and what doesn’t. And they can help you tease it out in your project.

So if your relationship with your evaluator is lacking and needs a boost, here are Three Ways to Win an Evaluator’s Heart:

  1. Be yourself.  Just like any teen magazine will tell you, the best way to have a healthy relationship is to be yourself. Be clear about your organization’s goals and future plans as well as share the challenges your organization faces. It’s important your evaluator knows who you are and what your organization is – the real story.
  2. Talk data to me. Evaluators love data. If you have data, share it. We’d rather have too much data than not enough. We can sift through it and make sense of what should be used to help uncover what is going on, what possible impact the program is having, and what recommendations can be derived from the data.
  3. Open and honest communication. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re not, let us know that too. It’s important that evaluators hear and see what is really going on with your organization, how you feel the evaluation process is going, and what is working or not working for you. On the flip side, we need to be honest with you too, which may result in some findings that don’t make you happy…but they will help you improve your programs for the future.

DR. EVERETT’S USEFUL TIP: If you do these things and your relationship doesn’t improve, then it’s probably not the right evaluator for you. As they say, there are more fish in sea…and evaluators will probably be counting them and putting them into categories. You have to keep looking for the right one for you.