by pam ashlund
I am fascinated by how quickly legislators determine our agenda. The latest example? Evaluations and Performance Objectives.
Anyone remember the way the introduction of the Performance Objective was heralded in to the non-profit world? "This will make you more effective", they told us. "This will validate our work". Blah Blah Blah. I, for one, drank the kool aid.
Then came the truth, somewhere between the ideal and the reality, the stats didn't change anything. Now a huge amount of staff time (not to mention trees sacrificed) is devoted to counting numbers, which go nowhere. Consider the following three problems:
- There was no funding for a decent evaluation;
- Evaluations take good research design;
- Nonprofit administrators learned how to game the system by ever reducing their goals so that they might be achieved (after all you WILL get penalized if you don't meet those goals).
If that wasn't enough to drive a stake into the heart of performance objectives...how about asking some hard questions:
Example Goal: Ex: Reduce Poverty in Lincoln Heights
- How much paperwork will it take to state and measure your goals?
- How will the results you gather further your goal?
- How will you pay for the evaluation?
- How will you determine your research is valid (sample size, bias, etc.)?
- Are your goals really goals or are you counting heads?
Technorati Tags: Measurement, Nonprofit, Performance Objectives, Performance Measurement