Do’s and don’ts of surveys

Surveys have become a very common way to get feedback, input, and information. If you stay in a hotel, fly on a plane, go to a training program, or visit a museum, you’re likely to get a survey asking you how the experience was for you and how it could be improved.

Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, and Checkbox Survey make it easy for organizations to quickly write a survey and get it out to their visitors, customers, or constituents. Before rushing a survey out the door, though, it’s worth taking the time to make sure your survey is well designed. Here are a few tips to consider.

Tip #1: Ask one question at a time
Did the program meet your expectations and provide you with information that you will use in the future?
Yes            No          Somewhat

The respondent may feel that yes, the program did meet their expectations, but no, it did not provide them with information they will use in the future.  So however they answer the question, you won’t know their true intent. Continue reading “Do’s and don’ts of surveys”

Staying current with grant opportunities

Getting grants for your non-profit organization is a time consuming process, but well worth the effort. The key is finding out about grants that are a good match for your organizational needs. Here are a few of my favorite free places to look: – There are new federal grant opportunities coming out every day. You can search through the database on and if you decide to apply, can complete applications online. Try to find out about deadlines early, because federal grant applications are complicated and take a long time to complete.

The Philanthropy News Digest’s RFP Bulletin – This site provides information about grants in the areas of arts/culture, children/youth, disabilities, education, environment, health, medical research and science/technology. They tend to be smaller grants. Continue reading “Staying current with grant opportunities”

Reflections on my third American Evaluation Association Conference

It was just over two years ago that I attended my first American Evaluation Association Conference in Washington D.C.  As a first-time AEA conference goer, I went all out, attending two days of professional development followed by four days of the conference.  I threw myself head first into the Independent Consultant topic interest group — the
IC -TIG — making connections with people who I have since worked with throughout the year .

At my second conference in Denver last year, I skipped the PD and saved my energy for the conference.  I was a little more knowledgable about how to choose sessions that were right for me.

This year, as a third-timer, I attended the conference in Chicago for four days.  As a pro, I knew about things like making sure to show up to certain workshops 15 minutes early so that I would get a seat and pacing myself by occasionally skipping a session.

These are my top ten AEA 2015 highlights: Continue reading “Reflections on my third American Evaluation Association Conference”

What do goats, light, soil and evaluation have in common?

With 2015 just a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking about what this new year represents. If you’re into Chinese astrology, maybe you know that it is the Year of the Goat/Sheep, which represents a symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility.  Or if you are into science and engineering, you may be eagerly anticipating 2015 as the International Year of Light, highlighting the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives and future. And guess what else? 2015 is the International Year of Soils, — think “healthy soils for a healthy life.” Continue reading “What do goats, light, soil and evaluation have in common?”