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  • 1 - Benchmarking Basics - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    classified as best promising or innovative will depend on a number of factors Effective practices can be classified as best promising or innovative While definitions and standards around what constitutes an effective practice vary throughout the nonprofit sector the following definitions provide a point of reference for the remainder of this lesson Effective practice a general term used to refer to best promising and innovative practices as a whole This term may also refer to a practice that has yet to be classified as best promising or innovative through a validation process Best practice a method or technique that has been proven to help organizations reach high levels of efficiency or effectiveness and produce successful outcomes Best practices are evidence based and proven effective through objective and comprehensive research and evaluation Promising practice a method or technique that has been shown to work effectively and produce successful outcomes Promising practices are supported to some degree by subjective data e g interviews and anecdotal reports from the individuals implementing the practice and objective data e g feedback from subject matter experts and the results of external audits However promising practices are not validated through the same rigorous research and evaluation as best practices Innovative practice a method technique or activity that has worked within one organization and shows promise during its early stages for becoming a promising or best practice with long term sustainable impact Innovative practices must have some objective basis for claiming effectiveness and must have the potential for replication among other organizations Classify the practice by reviewing its track record for success Effective practices maintain a sliding scale of criteria based on the practice s documented effectiveness and ability to be replicated As a general rule best practices meet the most stringent criteria while more evidence and documentation

    Original URL path: http://www.strengtheningnonprofits.org/resources/e-learning/online/effectivepractices/default.aspx?chp=1 (2016-02-12)
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  • 2 - Identifying Areas of Need - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    do you anticipate affecting your organization in the coming months and years How do you think the cultural climate in your geographical area will impact your ability to provide needed services to your clients The need areas you identify through these brainstorming activities will fall into one of two categories programmatic needs and organizational needs Once you identify these areas of need you will be ready to move onto the next step of the benchmarking process identifying effective practices Programmatic needs are client facing Programmatic needs address the methods or activities that your organization uses in providing services to your clients Programmatic needs can include but are not limited to Program design Work plans Project management Information or reporting systems Community organizing Volunteer recruitment Evaluation Context specific processes i e practices that apply to organizations that serve certain populations or address a specific set of needs Conducting regular needs assessments within your community or client base can be a vital step in the larger capacity building process and the identification of programmatic areas in need of improvement Analyze client needs You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Organizational needs are internal Organizational needs address the

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  • 3 - Identifying Effective Practices - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    Network with other nonprofit organizations coalitions and academic institutions to determine the practices they have identified as successful Suggested organizations and networks in which to identify effective practices include National and local foundations Regional associations of grantmakers State and Federal grant programs Universities and academia National and local think tanks and research institutes United Ways Other corporate giving programs National policymaker associations such as the U S Conference of Mayors or the National Governor s Association Faith based networks such as the Christian Community Development Association or the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability State and national nonprofit associations You can also search for existing practices by utilizing searchable web based databases such as those maintained by the University of Nevada at Reno s Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration s National Registry of Evidence based Programs and Practices Identify new practices through observation and in depth interviews For those nonprofits that need or want to identify new practices the primary place to find these effective practices will be within your own organization or among peer networks of nonprofit organizations that serve a similar purpose and population A nonprofit may self identify a potential practice as an effective way to meet client or organizational needs or your organization may observe an activity or method in practice that you believe will help to close the gap in a need area Large nonprofit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or Boys and Girls Clubs have hundreds of thousands of program sites throughout the country to draw from and can more easily identify effective practices that meet common needs and are easily transferable from one site to another However smaller nonprofit organizations due to their size will likely have to turn to

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  • 4 - Validate and Classify Practices - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    subjective data can include internal reviews assessments and feedback from management and staff or customers beneficiaries Objective data on the other hand is gathered from both internal and external sources that can provide objective bases for comparing the success of the practice through like kind analysis Sources for obtaining objective data can include subject matter experts external auditors consultants research evidence and independent evaluations Validate results through a comparative review A comparative review draws primarily on objective data sources to compare the practices unearthed in the programmatic organizational review with similar practices of other organizations A comparative review validates the results of the programmatic or organizational review through comparison to data gathered from sources external to the organization Potential sources for comparative data include National regional or local benchmark data Case studies of organizational performance Comparative competitive market analysis Academic research Weigh the strengths and weaknesses of a comparative review You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Build organizational ownership through peer reviews A peer review draws on the judgment of peers and other practitioner organizations to analyze and affirm the findings of the programmatic organizational review of the practice This is accomplished through the presentation of documented review findings to a number of peers to determine if the findings hold up and meet with the general consensus of the practitioner community The goal is to determine if there is agreement among practitioners that the practice qualifies as either a best or promising practice The peer review is a critical step in the assessment process in terms of building organizational ownership for the practice as a practice that has received consensus among a nonprofit community of peers is far more likely to be embraced and incorporated into organizational operations Weigh the strengths and weaknesses of

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  • 5 - Promote and Implement Effective Practices - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    prepares staff for implementation Internal promotion is essential to the successful implementation of an effective practice How you promote the practice and prepare your staff for implementation will depend on the size and culture of your organization as well as the complexity of the practice being introduced Sensitivity to your organization s needs and concerns are essential to the successful internal promotion of effective practices Consider your audience before promoting internally You need Adobe Flash Player to view some content on this site Peer to peer learning promotes collaboration among nonprofits Peer to peer learning is generally a low cost and low effort way to share effective practices that yield high value within the nonprofit community By creating a clearinghouse for effective practices nonprofit organizations can function as a facilitator or organizer as well as a source of support for collaborations that promote learning and sharing among peers Nonprofit organizations can promote peer to peer learning in a number of ways including Searchable databases One way to enable peer to peer learning is to create an online searchable database of practices where nonprofits can virtually share effective practices with their peers To host an effective online database ensure that posted practices meet a minimum standard of criteria that practices maintain a recognized validation process and that the database is searchable by sector area of programmatic activity and organizational operations List serves A list serve is an e mail list that allows members to send messages to one another A public list serve allows anyone on the public list to initiate communication with someone else You can host a list serve that enables nonprofits to communicate with one another regarding effective practices and their adaptation replication and implementation Face to face peer learning There are many ways for nonprofits to facilitate

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  • Summary - Identifying and Promoting Effective Practices
    review of this lesson you should now be able to differentiate between the three different types of effective practices best promising and innovative identify and validate existing and new practices and promote these effective practices in order to improve organizational performance Thank you for taking the time to learn about identifying and promoting effective practices Benchmarking helps nonprofits to reach their mission When identified and successfully implemented effective practices can help nonprofit organizations to improve the quality and quantity of services they provide to their clients increase productivity and efficiency replace poor processes and systems with evidence based strategies and practices and increase overall performance from management and staff Learn more about benchmarking at the links below Center for What Works The Center for What Works is a nonprofit organization that aims to help social service organizations enhance their performance measurement processes benchmark results and strive for improved effectiveness Members of the Center can access a number of resources including e learning lessons toolkits recorded webcasts and case studies Nonprofit Good Practice Guide This searchable online database maintained by the Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Grand Valley State University s Johnson Center for Philanthropy was created in 2002 to capture organize

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  • Evaluating Training and Technical Assistance
    information Regular review and analysis of level 1 survey results can help your organization to improve training and technical assistance opportunities by making them more convenient comfortable and relevant to the client Make the most out of your surveys The length and type of level 1 survey will often depend on the length and type of training or technical assistance delivered Regardless as to the format of this survey organizations should try to ensure that 100 of participants respond that participants remain anonymous and that results are quantifiable yet allow for comments and written feedback Download a sample level 1 training evaluation here There are a number of web based survey applications including Zoomerang SurveyMonkey and SurveyGizmo that organizations can use to create and distribute electronic surveys Each survey application has different editions that allow you to analyze functionality and choose a plan and price point that works for your organization If you are unable to financially invest in a survey tool check out the free versions on Zoomerang and SurveyMonkey Both in person and electronic surveys can also be used to evaluate technical assistance offerings Whether technical assistance takes place over the phone via email or in person organizations should be prepared to deploy a survey enquiring into whether the individual providing the technical assistance was helpful and whether the client s questions were answered Develop performance measures and keep high standards Performance measures are the data points that support the achievement of a larger outcome or goal At initial stages of evaluation performance measures are usually easy to identify as they relate directly to organizational outputs When formulating performance measures an organization should ask How do we know we ve been successful For example your organization identifies fifty hours of training as one of your outputs In order to assess whether you ve successfully delivered this output you might collect a series of performance measures including attendance rates contact hours and participant level 1 surveys that note opinions regarding the usefulness of the training Acceptable quality levels AQLs are the quantifiable standards that your organization has set for its own performance measures For instance your organization might say that in order to be considered a successful training event 100 of all registered participants must attend the training and 90 of training participants must agree that they would recommend the training to a coworker The development of AQLs should be a collaborative process involving all those that play a role in implementing training or technical assistance events After you have developed a level 1 survey tool and AQLs you can begin to tabulate results and measure them against your organization s standards of performance CHAPTER 3 Evaluating for Learning Kirkpatrick s second level of evaluation measures whether or not the participant learned anything from the training or technical assistance event Tests for learning are developed to measure gains in knowledge skills or attitude Level 2 evaluations can vary in length and type depending on the event being evaluated After a training event for instance it might be appropriate to distribute level 2s in the form of a written test while after providing technical assistance your organization might find it more appropriate to collect from clients a written plan that documents the issues discussed and the client s plan for action Regardless as to what sort of gain you are testing for and how you are planning to measure it level 2 evaluations play an invaluable role in linking your organization s actions to the success of your clients Without level 2 evaluations it is impossible for an organization to prove that their work has resulted in positive behavioral changes and overall improvements in clients efficiency or effectiveness Document level 2 gains with pre and post tests In order to prove that your clients have gained new knowledge skills or attitudes as a result of your training or technical assistance your organization will need to be able to quantify those gains using performance measures Pre tests or pre event surveys can help to capture your client s beginning understanding or knowledge in the training and technical assistance subject area Just like with level 1 surveys level 2 pre and post tests should be developed in a consistent manner so that you can easily compare the two and identify the impact of your training or technical assistance Pre tests or surveys can also be very informative as they help identify a client s strengths and weaknesses and highlight areas that your staff should focus on in more detail or spend less time on depending on the client s skill level and knowledge Develop level 2 evaluations that are relevant to the learning content Depending on the objectives of your training or technical assistance event you may find it useful to use a variety of methods to evaluate clients learning Learning evaluations will vary depending on whether the TTA event is designed to increase participants knowledge improve their skills or change their attitudes Level 2 evaluations can include written or electronic tests or surveys presentations essays or small projects For longer or more dynamic training events a combination of these elements might be more appropriate CHAPTER 4 Evaluating Behavior Kirkpatrick s third level of evaluation aims to unearth the changes in behavior that have taken place within the client as a result of the provided training or technical assistance Level 3 assessments enquire as to whether an individual actually applied the knowledge they gained in a valuable way Although evaluating for behavior changes takes time and patience level 3 surveys can help to showcase how the training and technical assistance you provide inspires your clients to take action and make organizational improvements In order to properly evaluate changes in behavior your organization should be prepared to collect both quantitative and qualitative information This might include methods such as surveys interviews and even on site observation Some organizations may decide to evaluate behavior at multiple points in time after the training or technical

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  • Interactivites
    the chapter title on the tabs above for additional instruction Overview None Logic Models and Outcome Measurement Use the if then exercise to identify outcomes Use the if then exercise to identify outcomes Text version of audio here Elements of a Logic Model Elements of a Logic Model Text version of audio here Evaluating Reaction Be consistent Be consistent Text version of audio here Evaluating for Learning Surveys are subjective

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