Sharing the story of your program or agency’s efforts can be a strategy for communicating the value of the program, for guiding future implementation, for marketing, to secure additional funding and for influencing policy decisions.
Consider the following when developing your communication strategy:
Who is my audience?
What do they need to know about my evaluation?
What format would communicate this best?
TIP! Engage key program constituent members when developing your communication and dissemination strategy. This will help ensure that evaluation findings are useful for various purposes and audiences.
Example Dissemination Plan
Evaluation findings can be shared in a variety of ways including in written reports such as executive summaries, data briefs, and success stories. Findings can be shared in more interactive formats such as webpages and data dashboards. They can be shared verbally delivered via PowerPoint presentations and community townhalls. Creative strategies including infographics, videos and podcasts can help give data life!
Whichever format is chosen two common approaches are offered below to help guide what and how to share information effectively.
The American Evaluation Association offers the following messaging model on Potent Presentations to help us deliver compelling presentations. On the left is a standard report format compared to the Potent Presentation format on the right. Potent presentations flip the standard report by presenting the findings first and then putting them into context (so what).
Potent Presentation messaging model does not give equal time to each part of the report or presentation. Instead, it jumps right into the main finding (bottom line) and spends the majority of time explaining why (50%).
Background (methods, purpose, positionality as evaluator) 5%
Bottom line (main message, key finding or conclusion) 20%
Explanation (Elaborate, reinforce the message or findings, story) 50%
So what? 15%
- What’s at stake?
- What are the consequences? Why does this matter? Situate findings in context
Call to action 10%
- Next steps
Sharing Your Impact Via Storytelling
Evaluation findings can be effectively told in the form of stories. Stories have a way of creating connection and making characters and situations come to life. The following components of storytelling can be used to describe real world situations in evaluation too.
Anatomy of a Great Story
Share interpretation of data and drafts of results early and often with key constituents – including participants in your program
Use quotes (anonymized with consent)
Avoid “cherry-picking.” Provide a balanced picture of the evaluation findings and avoid only highlighting the most positive or negative aspects.
Present data effectively. Use graphs, charts, and visuals to depict data. Avoid technical jargon in main report (can put technical report in appendix).
Ensure that strengths and limitations are lifted up. What were the advantages and disadvantages of the results and recommendations? What did you learn about the process?
What actionable insights can be shared with others who are trying similar strategies?
Focus on next steps. So What? Now What?
Examples of Sharing Your Impact
- SSAPC Cohort 1 Findings
- Healing Through Connection: Cherishing Families Moving Beyond Trauma
- Maine Strong: Together Fostering Resilient Communities
- SSAPC Grantee Impact Storytelling Guide
- Safe and Nurturing Families
- Impact of the Domestic Violence Housing First Model on Survivors’ Safety and Housing Stability: Six Month Findings
- Finding a Healing Way by Voces Unidas for Justice
- Brief guidance on Reporting Your Evaluation Results
- What happens when an evaluation surfaces negative or critical results? See Sharing Negative Results for more tips
- More on Potent Presentation from the American Evaluation Association offers recorded webinars, handouts, checklists, and worksheets on messaging, design, and delivery.
- Using a Storytelling Model for Evaluation Reporting by Amanda Kelley Corbin
- Promising Futures Guiding Principles