Highlights of The Evaluators’ Institute

Since its good to think in tens, here are my top ten highlights of the most recent gathering of The Evaluators’ Institute at George Washington University:

1. Meeting other people from around the world who incorporate evaluation into their work.
2. Learning that a combination of mail and phone surveys can produce the highest response rates.
3. Understanding that when writing a report on evaluation findings, transparency and humility are best.
4. Eating the cookies and brownies provided by TEI during the afternoon breaks. Continue reading “Highlights of The Evaluators’ Institute”

So what do you evaluate?

When someone asks what I do, it would be so easy if I could reply that I’m a teacher, waitress, lawyer, belly dancer or refrigerator repairwoman — anything that is self-explanatory and can be summed up in two words or less.

But instead, if I say something like “I do grant writing and evaluation,” the response is almost always “Well, what do you evaluate?”  It’s not always easy to come up with a concise answer to that question when its posed to me at a cocktail party or on an elevator. Continue reading “So what do you evaluate?”

Raise $$$ by collaborating

In beautiful Berkshire County, Massachusetts, everyone knows each other well. You can’t go to the grocery store or movie theater without running into someone you know, which is a nice thing. It might be a friend or a work colleague, and it might be an opportunity to have a conversation that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

It is this sense of community that makes Berkshire County a great place for people to collaborate. With 32 cities and towns spread out over 950 scenic square miles, this county likes to work together to get things done. And one of the best ways to collaborate is on grant applications. Continue reading “Raise $$$ by collaborating”

Reflections on my first AEA Conference

My top ten highlights at the American Evaluation Association annual conference this past week:

1. Connecting with other independent evaluators through the “TIG”

2. Writing my elevator speech in Gail Barrington’s Consulting Skills course

3. Learning all about focus groups in Michelle Revel’s course

4. Attending two great sessions on needs assessment with Ryan Watkins and his colleagues Continue reading “Reflections on my first AEA Conference”