Over the past few months, we’ve been sharing on the blog about Best Starts’ work to support our partners’ capacity building and growth, including around data and evaluation. We said it then and we’ll say it again: Our vision is that our partners can use data and evaluation in the ways they want, to strengthen their organizations, improve their services, and communicate their impact. Now it’s a new year and we’re excited to announce new resources to support our partners in continuing to grow data and evaluation skills!
There are two new components of this data support: consultation and workshops.
Best Starts for Kids has contracted with local consultants who are experts in working with data and evaluation in the context of community-based organizations, who can help you level up your skills at no cost to you! Consultation is available to Best Starts’ funded partners.
These consultants include groups already experienced with providing capacity building support to Best Starts partners: Cardea Services; Crux Consulting; Johnnie McKinley Associates; and the Michigan Public Health Institute. Here are some examples of ways they can support partners:
- Understand and develop performance measurements in alignment with BSK evaluation plans
- Learn how to analyze data needed to report performance measures in BSK evaluation plans
- Learn how to collect data through surveys, focus groups, and interviews, including support to develop and implement data collection tools
- Integrate evaluative thinking and continuous quality improvement into program operations
- Assistance in establishing or improving organizational data infrastructure
- Adapt data collection strategies to improve cultural relevance
In order to provide meaningful, individualized support to as many partners as we can, there are also some limits on what consultation can provide. Your work with a consultant should be focused on your Best Starts for Kids-funded program(s), although it may benefit your organization more broadly. Also, please keep in mind that the goal of consultation is to help partners build their data and evaluation infrastructure, skills, and knowledge, rather than to provide a service. For example, they may help you design a survey, but won’t conduct a survey on your behalf. Consultants can help you plan an evaluation or choose an evaluator to work with, but they won’t evaluate a program for you. Finally, although consultants may be able to help guide you in choosing, adopting, and using a data system, at this time we cannot provide additional funds to purchase a new data system or improve an existing data system.
Sponsored by Communities of Opportunity and provided by Communities Count, we will offer a monthly series of workshops designed for community-based partners who are interested in developing their knowledge and skills in working with data. These workshops will be open to Best Starts partners as well as all community-based organizations in King County who share Best Starts for Kids’ vision that babies are born healthy, children thrive and establish a strong foundation for life, and young people grow into happy, healthy adults! Topics will include:
- Finding and using data to tell a story
- Doing your own survey
- Doing your own focus groups and interviews
- Data analysis using Excel and Google Sheets
- And more!
Communities Count also provides curated resources on these topics at www.communitiescount.org/data-resources.
Workshops are codeveloped by a team of evaluators at King County, with a focus on meeting community-based organizations where they are and empowering them to use data and evaluation to support their missions. Details including dates, times, and registration links will be posted here on the Best Starts Blog as well as on the Communities Count website at www.communitiescount.org/trainings. (You can check out information about past Communities Count workshops too. The content will be very similar to other workshops, but will be tailored to Best Starts partners.) Stay tuned for the first quarter 2020 schedule.
We hope that these resources will help our community partners work towards their goals related to data and evaluation in 2020!