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)?
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!
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.
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.
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.
From the SurveyMonkey blog, a useful article on increasing survey completion rates.
Based on an analysis from 25,000 surveys, some of their conclusions state the obvious (i.e. the longer the survey the lower the response rate….) but here are five tips from the article I found useful:
- Starting a survey with an open-ended questions reduces completion rates
- Starting a survey with a simple easy-to-answer closed question will facilitate completion rates
- Placing open-ended questions towards the end of the survey is better than at the start of the survey
- A matrix or rating style questions doesn’t reduce completion rates – but too many of them do
- Each additional word in a question text has a direct negative effect on completion rates
As part of the 2015 International Year of Evaluation, the Swiss Evaluation Society (SEVAL), is organising its annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference will be preceded by a pre-conference event organised by the Geneva Evaluation Network. These events will be a unique occasion to meet with evaluation specialists from around the world and discuss about challenges regarding evaluation capacity development, independence and other topics.
I hope to see some of the Swiss-based evaluators there!