With so much to do, it might be tempting to skip the wrap up and jump right in to your next program or event. Keep in mind though, that the time you spend on these final tasks will pay off when next year rolls around, supporting stronger relationships, smoother planning and more successful events!

Evaluate

Evaluation is a critical part of wrapping up your program. It is important to understand what worked and what did not, so that you can plan for an even more successful program next time. It is important to consider your evaluation strategy early in the process because data should be collected throughout the program, not just at the end.

In the simplest terms, you will need to measure three things:

  • Did you reach your desired participation numbers?
  • Did you do what you said you were going to do?
  • Did it make a difference?

To answer the first and second questions, you simply collect information about your activities. What program events were held? How many families attended? You may want to gather all of the program information in a binder for future use (e.g., samples of all materials used, names and contact information for guest speakers, number of volunteers and hours needed, budget, etc.). You might also track program promotion strategies, for example, the number of local media hits promoting your program and resources (if applicable), or social media and website hits.

Looking at what you did is important, but it does not tell the whole story. To answer the final question, you need to look at program outcomes. How satisfied were participants? What did families learn? How will they apply what they learned?

Some strategies to gather this information include:

  • A simple parent satisfaction survey. These can help your planning team gather more information about how attendees felt about the program. Did they understand the activities? Do they feel the information provided was useful? Will they continue to apply the strategies they learned at home? Will they come to another PTA family event?
  • Pre- and post-event knowledge surveys. Used to assess more accurately what family members learned from a program, these are also important when reporting grant results or applying for grants in the future.
  • Phone surveys. You have the benefit of building stronger relationships with program participants and providing the most detailed information. However, phone surveys are very time consuming. It is only feasible to talk to a small number of participants in this much depth.

Access PTA’s sample Program Evaluation Tools

Another evaluation approach is to hold a debriefing meeting with your planning team to consider how successfully your PTA implemented the program. How might you improve?