Bring Intention to Each Program and Event
You've spent time articulating and thinking generally about your Theory of Change (TOC), goals, curriculum, and metrics. You want to bring this same forethought to each of your events and programs too (click here for a lot of program ideas). Don't worry if this sounds like a ton of work – most of it is already done for you. A little bit of intention and preparation goes a long, long way.
Case Study: Small Group Discussions
Imagine planning small group dinner discussions of all men to discuss gender equity (with affirmation from your female partners). The primary goal is to have men learn more about challenges women face in the workplace and adopt more inclusive behaviors. The target audience ranges from enthusiastic allies to skeptics
The TOC is:
- Men aren't engaging on gender equity on their own and feel scared to talk about gender equity for fear of saying the wrong thing
- Men will not be honest about their perspectives if women are in the room. If they're not honest, then they can't change their true thinking
- The more men engage on this topic, the more they will realize their biases and the importance of gender equity. They will become better allies
To evaluate the session's effectiveness, men will fill out evaluations that indicate whether participants' thinking has progressed and if they'd recommend this event to a friend.
It's easier to evaluate
Based on the evaluations, it seems like men enjoyed participating, but very few learned anything new or will change their behavior from participating. Perhaps the event is missing a structured way to ensure that beliefs are challenged (in a positive way) and not just confirmed, irrespective of reality.
It's easier to make clear decisions
If someone says, "we should make these dinners half men and half women", you can say "we think without a predominantly male room, that many of the guys won't be honest and won't change their thinking. How about these modifications: read and discuss articles written by women of color that challenge common beliefs; include two knowledgeable women in the conversation; bring in an experienced and knowledgable facilitator."
Or you could say "let's do the dinners with half men and half women, but we'll expect only dedicated allies to show up. We'll expand our goal to also include brainstorming strategies to make the school more inclusive."
It's very easy to skip evaluations, but you should do them!
The data you get is well worth the 30 minutes it takes to modify an evaluation, print some out, and enter the info onto your computer.
Gather quantitative (invites sent, attendance) and qualitative (evaluations/surveys) data. These help measure success and provide invaluable information about how to make the programming better.