IMPACT: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Community Information Projects
FSG and Knight Foundation’s IMPACT: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Community Information Projects aims to help organizations collect useful information about the impact of their community information projects. Community information projects incorporate media, news, and online and digital communication to build knowledge and engagement capacities in community. These projects can have various focuses, including strengthening existing professional news sources, giving voice to diverse groups of community members, building capacity to address information accessibility and digital gaps, and creating awareness and platforms for action around community issues.
The document is organized by four discrete sections that help to break down the evaluation process, and media’s role within it, more clearly:
Step 1: Describe Your Project and Identify Your Target Audience
Step 2: Identify the Evaluation’s Purpose and Key Questions
Step 3: Design the Evaluation Using Effective Methods
Step 4: Communicate and Report the Evaluation Findings
Within each section, the document identifies relevant tools, key terms, resources, examples, and visuals that help to create various access points for practitioners, both experienced and beginner. These include theory of change, logic models, indicators, and outcomes models among many others.
In the section dedicated to indicators, an extensive list of potential project indicators is included: number of articles, partnerships, registered users on a site, number of attendees, number of facebook or twitter followers, number of page views over time, etc. The last page of the document provides a one-page worksheet to aid practitioners who are developing a new evaluation plan. The worksheet, like the document, focuses its attention on media and information capacity.
While this document provides guidance and initial considerations for designing an evaluation of a community information project, it does not provide tools or tips for how to implement an evaluation. IMPACT: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Community Information Projects can be revisited as projects develop and new insights are needed.