Establish your measures

Evaluation measures (sometimes known as success measures) indicate what needs to be monitored to assess the progress and impact of your activities

Building evaluation measures into your activity plan helps keep you focused on what you want to achieve by giving you something tangible to assess. Measuring your progress and impacts is something to be done throughout the delivery of your activities, not just at the end. Find out more about measures below.

Types of evaluation measures

1 Process measures

Process measures focus on activity implementation, e.g. reach (number of community members who participate in an activity), and outputs (what is delivered). They help you to monitor whether your activity is going according to plan or needs to be tweaked. Process measures are usually described numerically, such as number of events held or number of attendees. Below are example process measures you might set for your prevention activity:

  • Number of workshops delivered
  • Number of community members who attend an event
  • Number of partners who promote support services at an event

Once you have collected your process measures you should reflect on what they can tell you about how the activity went on the day. For example:

  • Was the activity delivered as intended?
  • Was there anything that prevented you from delivering your activity in the way you intended?
  • How many people from the target audience (e.g. young adults, Indigenous people, etc.) were involved in your activity?

2 Impact measures

Impact measures relate to the difference your activity has made and help you to build a picture of your activity’s influence on individuals, organisations and communities. Below are example impact measures you might set for your prevention activity:

  • Increases in knowledge about AOD harms
  • Increase in sense of connection to community
  • Intention to access AOD health services

Your impact measures can tell you a lot about what your activity achieved. Once your impact measures have been collected, consider the following:

  • Was the activity effective in achieving the desired impacts?
  • Were there any unexpected impacts?
  • What benefit did the activity have for the target demographic?
group discussion at cafe

Tips for developing evaluation measures:

  • try not to be over-ambitious, e.g. over-estimating attendance rates or setting long-term impact measures. This can lead to your goals being unachievable.
  • develop impact measures to answer the question: What is different as a result of your activities? It Is likely it will deliver short-term impacts that, if sustained, can lead to long-term changes.
  • When developing impact measures, chose concepts that can be easily understood by your community, like knowledge. Some concepts, for example “resilience”, might be difficult to understand or can be interpreted differently by individuals. This could lead to unreliable data.
  • Consider how you will collect your data, e.g. If you want to record attendance at a workshop, how will you count participants? Will you include participants who leave halfway through, or join halfway in? And who will be responsible for doing the counting?

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