Managers of nonprofit organizations and state and local human services agencies make dozens of program decisions each year. To help them, they need varied information, especially evidence on how effective and efficient their services have been. The goal of this report is to help program managers strengthen their decisionmaking using evaluation information. The report describes how managers can get evaluation information and use it to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their services. Although the report’s suggestions focus on managers of human services programs, they also apply to managers of other public services.
The report first discusses program managers’ roles in evaluation and then suggests actions they can take to more effectively use evaluation. The suggestions focus on low-cost actions that provide timely information, and the report addresses only procedures that can be used without advanced statistical work or highly trained analytical staff. The report focuses on three major forms of evaluation: performance measurement systems, especially outcome measurement; in-depth program evaluations; and process (implementation) evaluations.