Evaluating communication – 4 of 4 key lessons

In my last post I wrote about the third of four key lessons on evaluation for communicators.

My first lesson was “1. Planning is key”

My second lesson was “2. Decide what and how you will measure”

My third lesson was: “3. Find the time & budget to monitor and evaluate”

And my forth lesson is: “4. Analyse and share your results”

Too often, evaluation and monitoring data is not analysed;  I’ve seen many media monitoring reports, web statistics and event feedback forms not compiled and analysed – communicators should be looking at such data to help understand what has been achieved (or not) and how activities could be improved. Once data is analysed, you should then see how such findings can be shared with your colleagues and stakeholders.  Evaluation findings will be of interest to yourself as they concern your activities but they may also be of interest to others in your organisation and possibly externally (confidentiality taken into consideration).

November 26, 2015 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment

Evaluating communication – 3 of 4 key lessons

In my last post I wrote about the second of  four key lessons on evaluation for communicators.

My first lesson was “1. Planning is key”.

My second lesson was “2. Decide what and how you will measure”

And my third lesson is: “3. Find the time & budget to monitor and evaluate”

Today, communicators have the tools available for communication evaluation. Presuming you’ve decided “what” and “how” to measure, then the challenge is finding the time and budget to monitor and evaluate! Imagine your time and resources as a lemon (sorry, I know communicators are all squeezed for time and budget…) – and ideally you should be spending 10% on strategy; 80% on implementation and 10% on evaluation.

I’d say most communicators are not doing this – they spend  5% on strategy, 95% on implementation and 0% on evaluation. So this lesson is all about re-allocating your time and resources – I’m not saying you need to squeeze even more out of that lemon, just squeeze it more evenly..!lemon


November 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm 2 comments

Evaluating communication – 2 of 4 key lessons

In my last post I wrote about the first of  four key lessons on evaluation for communicators.

My first lesson was “1. Planning is key”.

My second lesson was “2. Decide what and how you will measure”

If you have planned well your communication actions, then you should have clear and measurable objectives.  Your “what” to measure should normally  be based at the level of objectives and their outcomes – not at the level of activities. For example, if  you have set your objective as ” to put issue XY  on the agenda of AB organisation” you should be measuring this notion, that is, is the issue on the agenda of AB- and not the activities and their outputs to reach this, which could be a series of meetings,  events, etc.

So if you have a broad communication action you might have to narrow down the “what” you want to measure – of course, I’d recommend  going for the more significant – assessing if an issue is on the agenda is more significant than assessing how many people attended a given event contributing to this goal (the former being a “outcome” and the latter being an “output”).

The “how” to measure has perhaps attracted the most attention in communication evaluation. There are plenty of guides and handbooks available that focus on the methods and tools to use to measure, here is a list of several that I find good. Key is to finding the tool/method that suits what you want to measure. For the above example, how could you measure if “issue XY is on the agenda of AB”? This could be done by studying public statements by AB on the given issue and assessing to what extent it is on their agenda.

Next post, lesson 3!





October 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm 2 comments

Evaluating communication – 1 of 4 key lessons

last week I had the opportunity to present to a group of communicators from human rights NGOs at a True Heroes Films workshop in Geneva.

One of the main themes I spoke about was on lessons for evaluating communication campaigns and programmes based on my own experiences of having being involved in some 100  evaluations in this field.

I identified four lessons that I believe apply for all communicators, non-profit or for-profit, particularly taking into account the challenges faced of limited resources.

My first lesson was “Planning is key“.

For communicators, planning is often seen as a necessary burden before they get on to the exciting stuff – actually doing things! Communicators often jump straight into doing activities, i.e. setting up a website, organising an event, issuing a press release, etc. without actually fully thinking through the purpose of the activity – why are we doing this?

So to have a clear strategy and plan is key – before starting:
-Does the situation merit to communicate (analysis)?
-What do you want to achieve (objectives)?
-With whom (publics)?
-How (activities/tactics)

Thinking about this before you communicate will make evaluation so much easier – and possible!

That was lesson no. 1. And lessons 2-4? Wait for my next posts!


October 12, 2015 at 4:51 pm 3 comments

Measuring the impact of journalism 2

We don’t often read or hear about measuring the impact of journalism,  as I’ve written about previously.

Well, on this topic, here is a very interesting article from Stanford Social Innovation Review that goes quite in-depth on the subject.  They talk about measuring reach, impact, engagement and influence together with providing examples and initiatives underway in this area.

View the article here>>

September 22, 2015 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

Barcelona Principles 2.0 launched

Developed five years ago by International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and partners, the first  overarching framework for effective public relations (PR) and communication measurement (“Barcelona Principles”) has just been updated. See the infographic below that illustrates the changes.  Read more about the changes here.


September 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Evaluating global campaigning – example of HLP advocacy

From evaluating global campaigns and advocacy projects we naturally learn a lot about the challenges and obstacles faced at this level.

I recently carried out an evaluation for  Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on their programme-based advocacy initiative on housing, land, and property (HLP) – the evaluation report is available online (pdf).

This was a very interesting project as it both aimed to bring about policy change at the local (national) and global levels to strengthen the HLP rights of displaced persons, some of the key learnings for global campaigns and advocacy that I’d highlight were as follows:

– the positive results seen in combining country and global level advocacy with country-level cases providing substantive evidence for the global advocacy;

– the importance of achieving change within the organisations carrying out the advocacy, particularly when they are carrying programmes in the given sector (in this case, assistance and support for displaced persons);

– the balance between going alone on or building broader alliances for advocacy initiatives;

– the need to follow up advocacy initiatives and treat advocacy not as “one-off” events or activities but as activities that will need to be monitored and supported until the given objectives are met.

The evaluation was carried out by Patricia Goldschmid and myself for Owl RE.


September 1, 2015 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

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