The Grey Muzzle Organization and Lisa’s work as Executive Director was featured in Modern Dog Magazine’s “4 Amazing Charities Helping Dogs and People.”
As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
So what does that have to do with your program?
Look at it this way. If you were planning a road trip, what’s the first question you would need to answer? You would need to know where you wanted to go, right? Once you know where you want to go, you need to figure out how to get there. You need a road map. Think of a logic model as the road map for your program, a tool that helps ensure you don’t, in Yogi’s words, “wind up somewhere else.”
The logic model addresses three key questions:
- Where are you going?
- How will you get there?
- How will you know when you’ve arrived?
It graphically displays connections between your program resources, activities, outputs and outcomes. Think of it as a picture of what you plan to do and what you will achieve.
The logic model can and should be used in all phases of a program’s life cycle, from planning to implementation to evaluation. During the planning phase, the logic model can be used to strengthen the program by identifying gaps in logic and selecting activities that are clearly tied to desired outcomes. For example, if your program activities are focused on developing children’s reading skills, don’t expect their math scores to improve. During implementation, the logic model can be used as a management tool to monitor program activities. A program that isn’t being implemented as you intended is unlikely to produce the results you expect. Finally, the logic model helps you decide what data you need to collect in order to track progress and show results.
Successful programs have logic models and know how to use them. In fact, many foundations and public sector funders now require program logic models in grant proposals. Having good intentions to change the world is great. Pairing those good intentions with a road map to achieve results is better.
Let’s face it. A lot of people are afraid of program evaluation. There are countless explanations we use to rationalize not evaluating our programs. How often have you heard (or said):
- “I’m not an evaluator.”
- “Evaluation is expensive. We don’t have those kinds of resources.”
- “Participants love the program, so it must be working.”
- “Our program is complicated; it’s impossible to measure outcomes.”
To make matters worse, lack of staff expertise in evaluation is sometimes accompanied by fear that perhaps the program won’t show the results we expect. Then what?
I understand the reluctance and the fear.
Yet as concepts like results-based accountability become the norm and funders increasingly require evaluation plans in grant proposals, it’s important to step back and consider what can be gained from program evaluation. Most importantly, evaluation provides critical information about whether or not your program is achieving desired results.
We all know resources are limited. Isn’t it better to know sooner rather than later if those resources are being used effectively? And for those whose work focuses on our most vulnerable populations, there is even greater urgency to ensure that programs produce positive outcomes.
So the next time you’re tempted to fall back on all the reasons you can’t evaluate your program, think about all you have to gain if you do. Remind yourself that evaluating your program and tracking your outcomes will pay off by helping you to:
- Clarify program objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? How will you define success?
- Solidify support and raise money. People–including funders–want to support successful efforts. Demonstrating positive outcomes is an invaluable fund-raising tool.
- Monitor your program. Are you really doing what you said you would do?
- Make informed decisions about program changes. Do you need to alter the program or make mid-course corrections? Better to make those changes before the opportunity to get back on track is lost.
- Identify unintended program effects. Are there “side effects” that need to be addressed?
- Assess overall effectiveness. Did the program work as intended? Are program recipients better off? If so, how?
- Assess program cost versus benefit(s). Do the program outcomes justify the investment?
- Do even more good. If you can show your program works, you have the opportunity to increase your reach and broaden your impact.
So, got outcomes?
At Making Good Work we recognize that changing the world often doesn’t pay well, at least not financially. That’s why we created Pay It Forward. Every quarter we select an organization for which we provide a service at no cost.
So what’s the catch, you ask?
All we ask in return is that the organization pay it forward, agreeing to provide a specific service at no cost to another organization in need.
This quarter selecting the Pay it Forward organization was particularly difficult. There are so many organizations in the world doing truly inspiring work. Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one.
Here’s the story…
I recently returned from a trip to Africa during which I spent two weeks in Tanzania. Seeing the annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park was fantastic, but getting to know the people of Tanzania was even more inspiring. Learning about the wildlife and the culture from guides who are passionate about both was a profound experience. Each day I was moved by the differences in our way of life and reminded how much we in the United States take for granted.
One of our guides, Olais, shared his dream of starting his own organization, tentatively called Friends of Nature, and giving back to the community. His focus is on wildlife conservation, cultural engagement and helping to educate his community about the importance—and advantages—of protecting natural resources. I was touched by his intelligence, passion and aspirations.
Another of our guides, Rem, introduced me to Roots in Jungle, a small organization dedicated to giving back to the community by using sustainable tourism to support an orphanage, ensuring that children who have lost their families have a safe place to live and get an education. Shortly after meeting Roots in Jungle’s Director, Jacqueline Mosha, she emailed me and said, “Please stay in touch. We welcome your ideas and will receive them with an open heart. Let’s help the orphans to have a place to call home that’s filled with love, hope and opportunity.”
I am pleased to announce that this quarter we will be working with both Friends of Nature and Roots in Jungle to develop a strategic plan and launch a website. And in true pay-it-forward style, Evan Karatzas, Founder and Director of Proximity Lab, was equally moved by meeting Olais and has agreed to provide pro bono website design services.
My trip to Africa inspired me in a way I didn’t think possible. I’m thankful for the opportunity to join with new friends and colleagues to give back. Together we really can change the world.
Lisa was a featured speaker at the SAWA Management Conference in Long Beach, CA, where she presented “Planning for Success: Using Logic Models as a Road Map.” The session helped animal welfare professionals to work smarter and use evaluation as a tool for continuous improvement. She explained the importance of logic models and how they increase a program’s likelihood of success; discussed the ways in which logic models can support program planning, implementation and evaluation; and helped attendees to develop their own logic models for planned or current programs.
Lisa is thrilled that her work with The Grey Muzzle Organization on behalf of senior dogs was featured in a story in the Washington Post: “More people are adopting old dogs — really old dogs.” The story was picked up by msn.com and syndicated in newspapers and other media outlets nationwide and in Canada, including Tampa Bay Times, Denver Post, News & Observer in Raleigh, NC, Ft. Worth Star Telegram, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Miami Herald, Wichita Eagle, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, NewsOK.com (The Oklahoman), Bradenton Herald, Independent Tribune, the Huffington Post, Dogster, the Dodo, and SFGate.
Lisa was invited to participate in the National Council on Pet Population (Council) and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) Research Symposium entitled “Solid, Stretched or Broken?: the Human-Animal Bond” where she presented “Shelter dogs and veterans: A comparison of two different program models.” The number of animal-assisted programs that pair veterans with shelter dogs is growing. Yet there is great variability in program models and little information on effectiveness. Program goals vary and may include helping veterans to re-enter civilian life, develop job skills, reduce PTSD symptoms, and gain social support. The presentation outlined the findings from evaluations of two different types of programs that pair veterans and shelter dogs: Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) and VALOR. Differences and similarities in the two program models were discussed, and preliminary research findings from interviews with veterans from both programs were presented. Lessons learned and considerations for implementing similar programs were discussed.
On May 15, 2016, Lisa was in Prague, Czech Republic, conducting two workshops at the Animal Assisted Intervention International Conference. During “Pairing veterans and shelter dogs: A comparison of two different program models” Lisa discussed the fact that the number of animal-assisted programs that pair veterans with shelter dogs is growing. Yet there is great variability in program models and little information on effectiveness. Program goals vary and may include helping veterans to re-enter civilian life, develop job skills, reduce PTSD symptoms, and gain social support. Lisa’s presentation outlined the findings from evaluations of two different types of programs that pair veterans and shelter dogs: Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) and VALOR. Differences and similarities in the two program models were discussed, and preliminary research findings from interviews with veterans from both programs were presented. Lessons learned and considerations for implementing similar programs were discussed.
During “Got Outcomes?” Lisa emphasized that the success of animal-assisted programs depends on providers’ ability to clearly articulate program elements, implement programs as designed, and track outcomes to ensure the program delivers intended results. Participants learned how to use a variety of tools (logic models, fidelity assessments, performance indicators) to develop, implement, and assess programs. Lisa used program scenarios to help participants practice building logic models and selecting performance indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs. She also discussed the importance of measuring program fidelity and provided real-world examples of ways to assess whether programs are being delivered as intended.
Tune in at 1 p.m. on October 24, 2015 to WXPI 88.5 in the Williamsport, PA area. Lisa will be a guest on Tail Tales and will discuss her work with Grey Muzzle on behalf of homeless senior dogs.
Lisa was invited by the Kirkpatrick Foundation of Oklahoma to speak at their first Animal Conference of Ideas, Impact, and Inspiration at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City on March 31, 2015. The Foundation’s vision for the conference is to allow those who are professionally or personally part of the animal well-being community to convene and discuss current topics and concerns in the field. Lisa discussed the importance of assessment of and intervention with youth who abuse animals.
Lisa presented three sessions at this conference held in Denver, Colorado on September 19 and 20, 2014. On September 19 she presented “Planning for Success: Using Logic Models in Animal Assisted Interventions.” On September 20 she presented two workshops on the relationship between animal abuse and other types of violent and antisocial behavior. She discussed AniCare, a psychological treatment approach designed specifically for people who mistreat animals.