The Atlanta-area Evaluation Association Pro-Bono Evaluation Program

Session Number: 2653
Track: Organizational Learning & Evaluation Capacity Building
Session Type: Panel
Tags: AEA affiliates, capacity building, new evaluators, Non-Profit, Nonprofit Evaluations, Pro-Bono Evaluation, Process evaluation
Session Chair: Erin M Lebow-Skelley [AaEA Pro-Bono Evaluation Co-Chair/Public Health Program Associate - Atlanta-area Evaluation Association/Emory University]
Discussant: Sarah Gill [Evaluation Technical Advisor - Centers for Disease Control]
Presenter 1: Sarah Sliwa [Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention Fellow - School Health Branch/Division of Population Health]
Presenter 2: Erin M Lebow-Skelley [AaEA Pro-Bono Evaluation Co-Chair/Public Health Program Associate - Atlanta-area Evaluation Association/Emory University]
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Erin M Lebow-Skelley [AaEA Pro-Bono Evaluation Co-Chair/Public Health Program Associate - Atlanta-area Evaluation Association/Emory University]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Sarah Sliwa [Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention Fellow - School Health Branch/Division of Population Health]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (04:30 PM - 05:15 PM)
Room: L402

Abstract 1 Title: The Atlanta-area Evaluation Association Pro-Bono Evaluation Program: Structure and Process
Presentation Abstract 1:

Previously, AaEA offered pro-bono services on an ad-hoc basis. The positive experience of those partnerships spurred interest in expansion. In 2015, AaEA created a committee to develop a structured, annual, pro-bono process to serve more nonprofit organizations and AaEA members who wanted to gain additional evaluation experience. This presentation will describe the process of developing the pro-bono structure as well as the materials needed to launch the pilot program in 2016. These materials include recruitment communications, application materials and review criteria, trainings, memorandums of understanding, and evaluations. Through this pilot, interested nonprofits and volunteer evaluators apply, attend training and orientation, are matched, agree on a scope of work, refine and complete discrete evaluation projects over the course of 12 weeks, and evaluate their experience. In sharing this information, the AaEA Pro-Bono Evaluation Committee hopes that other affiliates may recognize this as a feasible and valuable approach.


Abstract 2 Title: The Atlanta-area Evaluation Association Pro-Bono Evaluation Program: Results from Pilot Year Process and Outcome Evaluations
Presentation Abstract 2:

The AaEA Pro-Bono Evaluation Program’s pilot process was intended to be a rapid-cycle proof of concept. Would we recruit enough experienced evaluators to act as mentors? Would nonprofits apply? Can volunteer-led projects be completed on time? Will nonprofits use the evaluation products? This presentation shares key outputs and results of the pilot year.

All seven organizations that applied were matched with evaluation teams. These organizations serve vital community needs through their work to support refugee populations; adults and children with disabilities; homeless populations; educational exhibitions; and urban food systems, food access, and food security. We will describe 1) how the evaluators and nonprofit champions worked together to define the project scope and design of the evaluation products; 2) the evaluation products, 3) process evaluation insights and feedback received from nonprofits and evaluators; and 4) how we will use this information to improve and institutionalize AaEA’s Pro-Bono Evaluation Program.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Atlanta is home to many evaluation-focused institutions, including universities, consulting firms, large nonprofits, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By extension, the city draws both new and experienced evaluators. Meanwhile, Atlanta is also home to many small nonprofits without evaluation infrastructure.  To build the evaluation capacity of newer evaluators and local nonprofits, the Atlanta-area affiliate of AEA (AaEA) offers pro-bono evaluation services. In 2016, AaEA restructured its pro-bono program to expand its reach. Two presentations comprise this panel. The first will describe the development, design, and pilot of the pro-bono program, including forming committees, recruiting nonprofits, offering trainings, setting expectations, and defining projects. The second presentation will report the outcomes of the pilot year, including individual project outputs and overall pilot year evaluation results. The process evaluation of the pilot year will inform modifications to the next pro-bono project cycle, with hopes of institutionalizing the program within AaEA.