About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
minus iconWhat Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?
What Are the Basic Steps?
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What Are the Basic Steps?

Use Evaluation Results

You can use the results of your evaluation in ongoing program planning, program refinement, or program sustainability.

Program Planning

You can use the results of evaluations and performance measurement to make internal decisions about the planning and management of your program. This ongoing activity can aid decisionmaking because it helps uncover concrete evidence of the effectiveness of your program. For example, if you are providing a service that is rarely used or has shown little impact, the results will help you decide whether to continue providing the service. Your findings also will help guide you in day-to-day operational decisions that support program activities. Overall, your findings will help keep you informed so that you can think strategically about what modifications (e.g., revamping, enhancing, changing) are necessary to improve your program’s activities (e.g., fill gaps).

Program Refinement

You can use evaluation results and performance measures to refine your program. Similar to ongoing planning, you will learn what works and what doesn’t work so that you can fine-tune your program’s activities and services. To keep your program operating effectively and efficiently, you must continuously monitor the activities and services you provide. Using the information in this guide will help you understand how all of these factors, independently or together, influence your program and how you can use the information resulting from the evaluation to refine your efforts so that you continue to see results.

Program Sustainability

Sustainability refers to a program’s capacity for continued success within a continuously changing environment. Evaluations are important tools for determining sustainability because the results inform you about the health of your program. Performance measures and evaluation results can be used to—

  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of your program.
  • Justify and maintain your program or specific program activities.
  • Expand ongoing programs or specific activities.
  • Obtain additional funding to support outcome activities.
  • Plan or implement a new program.
  • Determine the needs of your target population.
  • Increase the chances of reaching and effectively serving your target population.

Appropriate planning, ongoing monitoring, and periodic refinements are all integral to ensuring sustainability. Employing the program evaluation tools provided in this guide will help you find ways of measuring your performance so that you can remedy challenges before they become overwhelming and plan for shifts in client, community, or program needs.