Why should we evaluate our CAT campaign?

Evaluating a campaign or outreach event involves collecting information and feedback from the community about the impact of your social change efforts. There are two main reasons for collecting evaluation data:

  • They help you gain a clearer picture of how your CAT's campaign is affecting the community and what changes you might need to make in order to be more effective. Gathering feedback along the way tells you whether or not your CAT's efforts are producing the kinds of changes--either in individual behavior or in the community's system of laws, policies and organizational practices--that you intended or envisioned. 
  • They allow you to share information about the CAT's work with others. Organizing the knowledge and information you've gained into manageable "bytes" and visual images makes it easier to tell the story of your work in a way that others can readily respond to and understand.

How do we go about evaluating community impact?

Different types of community mobilization efforts require different kinds of information, feedback and statistical data to chart the campaign's progress or document its impact on the community. Response surveys, official records from police and sheriff's departments, and even simple head counts of the number of participants at a campaign event are examples of the kinds of data CAT members can collect to evaluate the impact of its efforts. 

Ideally, ideas for evaluating your CAT's campaign activities should be included in initial campaign planning. The "Map for Social Transformation--Strategic Planning Tool" (first introduced in Module 4, "Train for Action") gives CAT members a framework for brainstorming and linking possible "outcomes" to goals and objectives as part of the early planning process. The far right column of the Map can be used to list CAT member's ideas about how they can document the impact of their campaign. Within each area of change your CAT has identified as a focus of its efforts, team members should identify not only major goals or outcome objectives but also a few milestones that might indicate progress toward achieving major goals and desired changes. This will help the CAT track and document progress as the campaign unfolds. 

Included in this module's Tips & Tools are information sheets on how to generate and use evaluation data, along with sample questionnaires and survey forms your CAT can download and use.