Program Evaluation

Social Impact Study 

An organization developing and evaluating prototype programs wanted to gather feedback on the social impact of three programs supporting Indigenous fathers. Over the course of five months, the participants and facilitators were interviewed individually and in small groups to identify the individual, family, community, and/or systemic benefits of the program. Key impacts included:

  • Fathers gained confidence in their parenting skills.
  • Children and fathers spent enjoyable evenings together doing crafts, reading, and cooking meals as a group.
  • Fathers began to identify and share personal and parenting stories, creating a support network.
  • Children were reunified with their fathers after having been in foster care.

Social Impact Study

An organization serving newcomer families wanted to research the preventative effect of its program on refugee families. Over the course of two years, case studies were completed with four families experiencing different kinds of settlement challenges. It became apparent that the program had its greatest impact in areas like the following:

  • Parents were able to improve their mental health and play more active roles in their families.
  • Children were able to get the medical attention they needed to address serious illnesses.
  • A mother was able to take herself and her children to safety after leaving serious domestic abuse.
  • Parents were better able to manage worrisome teenage behaviours.
  • Addictions issues could be addressed and harmful behaviours reduced.

Impact Evaluation

A community economic development organization wanted to describe the multi-layered impact of its social enterprise program. After interviewing a wide variety of stakeholders and capturing their “stories of impact”, the program’s individual, organizational, and policy effects are identified.

Social Impact Study 

A not-for-profit organization wanted to gather information on the broader social impacts of one of its programs, which provided nutritious breakfasts to children in a housing community and ensured that the children arrived at school on time. Over the course of eight months, various stakeholders (parents, volunteers, program staff, social agencies, school) were interviewed and a social impact map was constructed to inventory the inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the program. Social Return on Investment methodology was then applied to highlight the significant social value that was created by the program, both in terms of positive outcomes and negative outcomes avoided.

  • Relationships between parents and school staff improved significantly.
  • Children developed positive relationships with other parents from the community.
  • Absenteeism and tardiness were reduced.
  • Petty vandalism on the route to school stopped.
  • No children from the program were apprehended by child welfare authorities.

Evaluation of Literacy Programming

In order to extend funding for its literacy program in a housing development for refugee families and women leaving domestic abuse, an evaluation needed to be completed for the provincial funder. Over the course of a year, research was conducted into various aspects of the literacy program: participant backgrounds, curriculum and instructional methods, social variables affecting the program, barriers to learning, and necessary student supports. Interviews are conducted with learners, instructors and other stakeholders. Social impacts of the programming were identified and highlighted. After a year, a report was prepared.

  • Participants completed significant steps towards earning a high school credit.
  • Participants were connected to additional supports in a timely way.
  • Children saw parents as more positive role models.