Building Evaluation Capacity in Youth-Serving Organizations Through Evaluation Advisory Boards
Keywords:capacity-building, evaluation, evaluation advisory boards, program quality
Youth-serving organizations seek effective and cost-efficient solutions to build evidence and advance their impact. Some common challenges include choosing data systems or assessments, budgeting and planning for 3rd-party studies, and refining measurement and outcomes when programs expand or change. Evaluation advisory boards (EABs) are a low-cost solution to add evaluation capacity and can be mutually beneficial to both youth-serving organizations and evaluation experts. Previous research suggests that EABs may encourage meaningful use of data, support internal evaluators, and/or facilitate difficult conversations among stakeholders. However, there are very few examples of successful EABs in practice. This paper shares the perspectives of EAB members and organizational evaluation leaders from a large national after-school program, After-School All-Stars (ASAS), including (a) a description of the benefits of EABs, (b) how EABs may be especially helpful with the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (c) examples of youth-serving organizations’ EABs. The experiences and lessons learned by ASAS and its EAB are generalizable to other non-profit youth development programs. Recommendations for structuring EABs based on organizational goals are provided.
Afterschool Alliance. (2020). Afterschool & summer in the time of COVID-19(blog). http://afterschoolalliance.org/covid
Altarum Institute (2012). Assessing the evaluation capacity of large nonprofit organizations: A detailed account of the methods, findings, and lessons learned from the YMCA Evaluation Capacity Assessment. http://www.evaluativethinking.org/docs/YMCA_Evaluation_Capacity_Assessment.pdf
Arnold, M. E., & Cater, M. (2011). From then to now: Emerging directions for youth program evaluation. Journal of Youth Development, 6(3), 80-92. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2011.176
Arnold, M. E., Cater, M., & Braverman, M. T. (2016). Rethinking evaluation capacity in youth development programs. The changing landscape of youth work: Theory and practice for an evolving field, 193-209.
Arnold, M. E., & Rennekamp, R.A. (2020). A time like no other: 4-H youth development and COVID-19. Journal of Extension, 58(3), 1-3.
Arnold, M. E., & Silliman, B. (2017). From theory to practice: A critical review of positive youth development program frameworks. Journal of Youth Development, 12(2), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2017.17
Baizerman, M. L., Fink, A., & VeLure Roholt, R. (2012). From consilium to advice: A review of the evaluation and related literature on advisory structures and processes. In R. VeLure Roholt & M. L. Baizerman (Eds.), Evaluation advisory groups. New Directions for Evaluation, 136, 5-29.
Bamberger, M., Rugh, J., & Mabry, L. (2006). Chapter 3 – Not enough money: addressing budget constraints. In M. Bamberger, J. Rugh, & L. Mabry (Eds.), Real World Evaluation (pp. 51-67). Sage.
Batras, D., Duff, C., & Smith, B. J. (2016). Organizational change theory: Implications for health promotion practice. Health Promotion International, 31(1), 231-241. http://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dau098
Baughman, S., Boyd, H. H., & Franz, N. K. (2012). Non-formal educator use of evaluation results. Evaluation and Program Planning, 35(3), 329-336. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2011.11.008
Berry, T., & Sloper, M. (2020). Building effective continuous quality improvement systems: The need for evaluative thinking about out-of-school time program quality. In C. Newhouse & C. Russell (Eds.). Measure, Use, Improve! Data Use in Out-of-School Time. Information Age Publishing.
BoardSource. (2016). Advisory councils: Nine keys to success. https://boardsource.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/9-Keys-Success-Advisory-Council.pdf?hsCtaTracking=8dacd2d1-12a2-4281-a6db-b5b03cca42de%7C57e67e8d-6a50-48a8-937c-96f7ffc7558d
BoardSource. (2017). Leading with intent: 2017 national index of nonprofit board practices. https://leadingwithintent.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/LWI2017.pdf
Bourgeois, I., & Cousins, J. (2013). Understanding dimensions of organizational evaluation capacity. American Journal of Evaluation, 34(3), 299-319.
Boys and Girls Clubs of America. (2020, March 19). Clubs offer critical care during COVID-19 (blog). https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/2020/March/Clubs-Offer-Critical-Care-During-COVID-19
Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W. M. (2015). Defining and teaching evaluative thinking: Insights from research on critical thinking. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3), 375-388. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214015581706
Bundy, J., Pfarrer, M. D., Short, C. E., & Coombs, W. T. (2017). Crises and crisis management: Integration, interpretation, and research development. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1661-1692. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206316680030
Cohen, B. B. (2012). Advisory groups for evaluations in diverse cultural groups, communities, and contexts. In R. VeLure Roholt & M. L. Baizerman (Eds.), Evaluation advisory groups. New Directions for Evaluation, 136, 49-65.
Ettekal, A. V., & Agans, J. P. (2020). Positive youth development through leisure: Confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Youth Development, 15(2), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.962
Fine, P., Reichle, S., & Lord, K. (2020, June 8). Youth or consequences: Put youth at the center of COVID-19 recovery (blog). The Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/06/08/youth-or-consequences-put-youth-at-the-center-of-covid-19-recovery
Grembowski, D. (2001). The practice of program evaluation. Sage.
Johnston-Goodstar, K. (2012). Decolonizing evaluation: The necessity of evaluation advisory groups in Indigenous evaluation. New Directions for Evaluation, 136, 109-117. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.20038
Keller, E. (2010). Cutting costs, keeping quality: Financing strategies for youth-serving organizations in a difficult economy. Finance Project. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED509450.pdf
Kirby, T. (2020). Evidence mounts on the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(6), 547-548. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30228-9
Labin, S. N., Duffy, J. L., Meyers, D. C., Wandersman, A., & Lesesne, C. A. (2012). A research synthesis of the evaluation capacity building literature. American Journal of Evaluation, 33(3), 307-338. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214011434608
Laurencin, C. T., & McClinton, A. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 7(3), 398-402. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-020-00756-0
Lee, J. (2020). Mental health effects of school closures during COVID-19. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(6), 421. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30109-7
Lovell, A., Anucha, U., Houwer, R., & Galley, A. (2016). Beyond measure? The state of evaluation and action in Ontario’s youth sector. Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange. https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10315/32819/YouthREX-BeyondMeasure-Report(1).pdf?sequence=1
Maley, M., Agans, E., Rainone, N., Cope, M., & Eckenrode, J. (2016). The evidence for outcomes from youth participation in 4-H. Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. https://www.bctr.cornell.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Systemic-Translational-Review-4-H-evidence.pdf
Mariama-Arthur, K. (2017). Why selecting the 'right' advisory board members should matter to your organization. Forbes Coaches Council. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/11/why-selecting-the-right-advisory-board-members-should-matter-to-your-organization/#3892d7f76150
Mattessich, P. W. (2012). Advisory committees in contract and grant-funded evaluation projects. New Directions for Evaluation, 136, 31-48. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.20032
National Financial Educators Council. (2019). Standards and curriculum advisory boards. https://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/curriculum-advisory-board/
Ouellette, R. R., Goodman, A. C., Martinez-Pedraza, F., Moses, J. O., Cromer, K., Zhao, X., Pierre, J., & Frazier, S. L. (2020). A systematic review of organizational and workforce interventions to improve the culture and climate of youth-service settings. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 1-15.
Outley, C. W., & Blyth, D. A. (2020). Race, antiracism, and youth development: From awareness to sustained action. Journal of Youth Development, 15(5), 1-15.
Patton, M. Q. (2018). A historical perspective on the evolution of evaluative thinking. In A. T. Vo & T. Archibald (Eds.), Evaluative thinking. New Directions for Evaluation, 158, 11-28.
Preskill, H., & Boyle, S. (2008). A multidisciplinary model of evaluation capacity building. American Journal of Evaluation, 29, 443-459. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214008324182
Preskill, H., & Tzavaras, T. (2006). Reframing evaluation through appreciative inquiry. Sage.
Rennekamp, R. A., & Arnold, M. (2009). What progress, program evaluation: Reflections on a quarter-century of Extension evaluation practice. Journal of Extension, 47(3), Article 3COM1. https://archives.joe.org/joe/2009june/comm1.php
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations, 5th edition. Free Press.
Silliman, B., Crinion, P., & Archibald, T. (2016). Evaluation champions: What they need and where they fit in organizational learning. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 4(3).
U.S. Department of Education. (2008, April). Building an effective advisory committee (Fact Sheet No. 21). Mentoring Resource Center. https://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/factsheet21.pdf
Vo, A. T., Schreiber, J. S., & Martin, A. (2018). Toward a conceptual understanding of evaluative thinking. New Directions for Evaluation, 2018(158), 29-47.
Wong, C.A., Ming, D., Maslow, G., & Gifford, E.J. (2020). Mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response on at-risk children. Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-0973
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.