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Evaluation and Needs Assessment


Can You Prove That Your Organization is Making an Impact?
One of the best – and often overlooked – ways that nonprofits can prove impact is through evaluation and reporting on its efforts in the community. Investing in a strategic evaluation plan demonstrates to funders and other stakeholders that your program is making the difference you say it is, and that you are deploying resources where it matters most.
The Olin Group believes that evaluation for community-based initiatives must be feasible, useful, accurate, and affordable – or said differently, we believe that the purpose of data is to help make programs better and improve outcomes, and that measuring it shouldn’t break the bank. When providing evaluation services, we give careful consideration to how and why information will be used, who the target audience is, and how information can be collected with minimal impact on clients, personnel, and resources.
To help you understand how this philosophy translates into action, here is an outline of how our services can help:
Getting Ready: Planning to Tell Your Story
Developing an evaluation plan can help clarify program goals, improve messaging around expected outcomes, and help staff identify what should be evaluated, how it should be reported, and when. Without a plan, data collection efforts can result in too much or too little data, with no framework to explain what it means. Our evaluation planning services include:
• Assessment of current evaluation/data collection processes
• Development of logic models and theories of change
• Design of evaluations for grant proposals
• Development of evaluation plans
• Development of data collection tools and protocols
Getting It Done: Implementing Your Plan
Once you have a plan and data collection tools to support it, The Olin Group can help your team implement the plan by collecting and analyzing critical data. Our data collection and analysis services include:
• Surveys
• Interviews
• Focus Groups
• Case Studies
• Community Forums
• Data Analysis
• Data Management Tools
Getting It Out: Sharing Your Results
To make your data useful, it will need to be analyzed and shared with key stakeholders. Whether you are just starting to collect data, or have years of data that has never been analyzed, The Olin Group can help you make sense of it and report findings to your staff, your board, your clients, or the public. Getting your results in the hands of decision makers and staff can impact policies and investments to improve programs and sustainability. Our evaluation reporting services include:
• Evaluation Reports
• Cost Analysis
• GIS Mapping
• Dashboards and Key Performance Indicators
• Recommendations based on needs assessment/evaluation findings
Getting Funding: Using Data to Make the Case
Tying your program interventions to documented needs and gaps in service is a highly-effective way to make your case to other stakeholders engaged around your mission. Our assessment services include:
• Needs Assessment Report
• Policy Analysis and Briefs
• Connecting needs assessment and evaluation findings to funding requests
• Case Statements
• Grant Applications
Regional Needs Assessments and Systems Change Efforts
In addition to program evaluation through an organization-specific lens, The Olin Group also brings its evaluation and assessment services to regional policy and system change work. We have deeply engaged with needs assessments and collective impact efforts across a variety of social issues and vulnerable populations. These projects can be critical drivers in generating policy change, directing investment, and bringing awareness to community needs.
Examples of our efforts include:
• A Youth Services Needs Assessment in the City of Anaheim, that resulted in a funded collective impact initiative, ACT Anaheim, for older youth in the City Community Health Needs Assessments for a multi-state hospital system that pulled together publicly-available data with input from community members and service providers to identify and prioritize health needs in each hospital region
• A Landscape Analysis of Regional Services for immigrants, focusing on gaps in legal supports and barriers to documentation and administrative relief for undocumented immigrants
• Facilitation of Collective Impact work in the areas of early childhood mental health, developmental screening, and homelessness to strengthen collaborative efforts, build Orange County’s capacity to compete for larger grants in these areas, and promote measurement of progress across systems


To discuss how our Evaluation and Needs Assessment service line can help build your organization’s capacity, please call us at 714.647.0900 or email us at