Communicating prevention program evaluation results helps to promote your intervention in the community and support funding efforts.
Sharing the results of your prevention program is an opportunity to reach professional peers, lawmakers, community members, and potential funding sources. How you share these results may vary. Aside from submitting written documents, it is not unusual to verbally present results at a conference or during a webinar with visual aids, or post them to a website. Well-executed evaluations can serve as a model for other prevention practitioners who want to replicate your program or modify their current program based on your results.
Consider the following to make your report successful:
- Presentation: Make your report as attractive as possible. It should be logically organized and free of spelling, grammar, and numerical errors.
- Timing: Release your report when it is likely to have the greatest impact. If a report is needed for a legislative session but is not ready in time, the chances of the data being used decrease dramatically.
- Relevance: Build connections between community priorities, your program’s purpose, and the program outcomes. If the evaluation design is clearly linked to how the program was implemented and what it achieved, the findings are more likely to be put to use.
- Quality: Consider layout, readability, and user-friendliness. If readers can’t understand your report, they are unlikely to take your findings seriously.
- Availability of support and technical assistance after findings are reported: Questions of interpretation will arise over time, and people will be more likely to use the results if program staff are available to answer questions.
Other factors, like the size of the organization or the program, may also impact your evaluation report’s publicity. Sometimes larger programs get more press; sometimes targeted prevention programs do. And consider competing information: Are there results from similar programs that confirm or deny your results? Are there other topics vying for attention?
Developing a Dissemination Plan
Have a plan in place to share your evaluation findings. An effective dissemination plan includes:
- Situation analysis: Explain why you are creating the plan and what you want to achieve.
- Description of audience: Describe the audiences you want to reach. These might include current and potential funders, community administrators, board members, community groups, community organizations, national and state associations, the media, legislators, and the general public.
- Tailored messages: Develop tailored messages that communicate key evaluation findings in language that is appropriate for your audiences.
- Reporting methods: How will you package your messages? Formats might include reports, news articles, editorials, public service announcements, transportation ads, or professional presentations.
- Channels: Identify channels for getting the word out, such as community newspapers, professional journals, association newsletters, conferences and workshops, or local radio or TV stations. Consider your audiences and how they get information.
- Evaluation: Identify how you will evaluate your communication efforts.
As you develop your dissemination plan, be sure to consult with your stakeholders. They may be helpful resources for ideas and outlets for sharing your evaluation findings.
Publications and Resources
- Reporting Your Evaluation Results
- Elements of a Good Data Report
- Cross-Sector Collaboration Helps Michigan Prevent Prescription Drug Overdose
- Does it Pay to Invest in Training and Technical Assistance? Video - 2012