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by admin on December 1, 2017

King Conservation District:  Development of Evaluation Framework

ISSUE

The King Conservation District was interested in the development of a more comprehensive outcome-based evaluation framework to support consistent collection of data about program implementation and impacts and to support the formation of the organization’s five-year work plan for the period starting in 2020.  The organization had typically relied on the collection of output and performance measurement data to account for service delivery and wanted an approach to better account for the impacts of a diverse set of conservation related programming efforts.

SOLUTION

Theory of Change Development:  The first phase of the work involved the development of theory of change models across each of organization’s strategic service areas including Rural Agriculture, Rural Forestry, Shoreline, Urban Forestry, Community Agriculture and Food Support activities.  We convened small work groups comprised of program staff, key stakeholders and board members and looked at the interconnections between current (and future) activities, short-term individual and longer term systemic and environmental outcomes.  The resulting models illustrated pathways by which the program activities would contribute to outcomes and provided a basis for the development of evaluation framework to support data collection.  Moreover, the models served as the background for the organization’s creation of a future five-year work plan funded through countywide rates and charges that was adopted by the King County Council in 2020.

Evaluation Plan Development:  The current phase involves working with a range of programs on the development of methods and tools for the ongoing collection of data to measure program implementation and outcomes.  To date many of the programs have simply relied on the enumeration of who they served and the types of services they have provided.  With this shift to an outcome based lens we have helped programs develop surveys that can be completed by program clients at multiple time periods, assessments that can be completed by the staff regarding the progress of individual projects and materials to support grantees of funded programs such as Member Jurisdiction Grants in the their ongoing collection and reporting of grant specific data.  This effort parallels the organization’s work in designing a comprehensive data management system with the future goal of having a system that provides programs with more timely and useful data about services and impacts.