Evaluation: Adding Razzle Dazzle to Your Prevention Programming Efforts
This number hasn’t been confirmed, but in my experience, about 110% of preventionists are passionate about prevention and the work they’re doing. Their elevator speeches advocating for prevention are in their back pockets and ready to be shared at the first glimpse of eye contact from that unsuspecting county commissioner, they work into the wee hours of the morning to make sure everything is in place for that special community event, they meet nervously but energetically with the hesitant community leader that took them hours to contact. Surely, preventionists would give the energizer bunny a run for his money! Regardless of how much passion a preventionist has though, prevention outcomes cannot be achieved with a handful of motivated individuals.
We already know that in order for prevention efforts to be sustained over time, the community needs to be involved and sometimes others need to see the value of the prevention efforts and the changes that can, and have, occurred in the community before they invest. Regardless of the type of investment; time, space, energy, resources, they need to know the cause is worth their effort.
This is where evaluation comes in. Telling your story, sharing your data with the community and those who are making an investment, or that you would like to make an investment, will greatly increase your opportunities for collaboration. Not only does evaluation help you improve your impact on the community from year to year, but it helps you share that information in concise, measurable ways that will convince even the most reluctant of community leaders.