Community Food Project Evaluation Handbook

COMMUNITY FOOD SECURITY COALITION

Community Food Security Coalition PO BoA 209
Venice, CA 90294
Phone: 310-822-5410 www.foodsecurity.org

Sponsor: USDA Community Food Projects Program

Author: National Research Center, Inc.

3005 30th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301 Phone: 303-444-7863 nrcRn-r-c.com www.n-r-c.com

First Edition, 2003 Second Edition, 2004 Third Edition, 2006

Copyright © 2006 by National Research Center, Inc. All rights reserved.

We welcome limited duplication of contents of the Evaluation Handbook for non-profit and educational purposes. Please credit the source in all copies, and if possible, include this page.

The Community Food Project Evaluation Handbook was written by National Research Center, Inc.
Some content within this handbook was adapted from previously written handbooks authored by NRC including Outcome Handbook for City of Boulder Human Service Providers (January 1999) and After School Initiative Evaluation Handbook sponsored by The Colorado Trust (2001-2002).

FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM THIS DOCUMENT. TO PURCHASE THE HANDBOOK IN ITS ENTIRETY PLEASE GO THE CFSC WEBSITE PUBLICATIONS PAGE AT www.foodsecuriy.org

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 2

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic

Model

The evaluation planning stage ideally coincides with project planning. It begins at the conception phase when developing a new project, applying for a new grant or revising a program’s action plan. Dith evaluation, however, it is best to Ebegin with the end in mind.F Dhat do you want your end result to beG In this chapter, we will first consider a project’s overarching mission and goals as these should always be in the forefront of planning efforts. They will form the backbone of your evaluation system. Then with these goals in mind we will embark on the logic modeling process, a way of mapping your project from start to finish, showing how these goals will be achieved.

!e#i%itin( *our .ro/ect 1oal%

It will be impossible to identify meaningful outcomes in the absence of clearly stated goals that are understood by everyone connected with and, in fact, interested in your program. Dhether your community food project is new or has been in existence for many years, taking a careful look at your goals is an essential first step in identifying the outcomes you would like to monitor. Jeeping in mind the goals of your CFP, you might ask yourselves questions such as these:

euestions to Revisit Your Goals

  • !  Are our goals consistent with and supportive of our missionf
  • !  Are our goals realistic in view of the resources we have to address community needsf
  • !  Are our goals broad enough to be useful and motivating to stafff
  • !  Are our goals focused and specific enough to be translated into measurable

    outcomesf

  • !  Are our goals reflective of the diverse needs of the various cultural groups served by

    our programsf

  • !  Are our goals designed to develop and foster authentic partnerships with growers,

    recipients and/or other stakeholdersf

  • !  Do our goals include strategies to sustain our project, retain staff, find replacement

    funding and maAimize other available resourcesf

    Ooals that do not meet your underlying criteria should be revised or replaced. As you consider the activities of your project, and the resources you have devoted to achieving your goals, you may find you either wish to revise the goals of your program to be in closer alignment with the services you actually provide, or you may wish to redesign your project so that goals important to your project can be attained.

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 3

4in5in( .ro(ram 7cti#itie% to 1oal%8 9ntroduction to t;e 4o(ic

<odel

A logic model is a tool often used to tie a program to its evaluation. A logic model is a picture showing what you hope to achieve and how you plan to do it. It is comprised of Eif-thenF statements that describe a program’s theory of change, showing how day-to- day activities connect to the outcomes the program is trying to achieve. Similar to a flowchart, the logic model shows how program activities and outcomes connect with one another. ” The logic model has been likened to Ea roadmap of your program highlighting how it is expected to workF # or Ethe basis for telling a convincing story of a human service program’s expected performance.F$

The logic model and its precursors have been used to understand the relationship between activities and results for the past two decades. Although the logic model was originally developed and used by evaluators, it has gained recent popularity for its use by program managers, program staff and funders. Some of the advantages of using a logic model are presented in the box below:

Benefits of Using a Logic Model

  • !  It builds a common understanding of the program and eApectations for its resources, activities and results, thus is good for sharing ideas, identifying assumptions, team building and communication.
  • !  It is helpful for program design or improvement, identifying activities that are critical to goal attainment, redundant or have inconsistent or implausible linkages among program elements.
  • !  It points to ia balanced set of key performance measurement points and evaluation issues, thus improves data collection and usefulness.j%
  • !  It ensures that a program’s process is not overlooked in an evaluation. The model makes it easier to look at both program process and outcomes.
  • !  It enhances the process of learning through evaluation. iAs data are collected, the logic model can be used to put the data in perspective, eAamine the theory that underlies the program and make program mid-course corrections if needed.j&

    =;e >a%ic 4o(ic <odel

    There is no one prescribed way to map a logic modelR the specific elements of the model may vary in terms of complexity and the language used to define concepts. For community food projects, we have decided to begin with a basic logic model, one similar to that proposed by Snited Day of America. ‘ The basic logic model is comprised of four components: resources (or inputs), activities, outputs and outcomes.

( The basic logic model, along with definitions, is described in the figure on the following page:

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 4

Resources Resources dedicated to or consumed by the project

Activities What the project does with the resources to fulfill its mission

Outputs
The direct products of project servicesm the luantification of services

Outcomes
Benefits to participants or the community that are associated with or caused by a project’s services or outputs

Examples of each component are presented in the table below. The next page displays a basic logic model from a fictitious community food project.

EAamples of Basic Elements of the Logic Model

Resources

  • !  Money
  • !  Staff
  • !  Volunteers
  • !  Eluipment
  • !  Supplies

Activities

Outputs

Outcomes

  • !  Increased knowledge
  • !  Changes in attitudes and

    values

  • !  Increased skills
  • !  Modified behavior
  • !  Improved

    condition

  • !  Altered physical

    and social environments

  • !  Mentoring
  • !  Technical

    assistance

  • !  Education
  • !  Nutrition counseling
  • !  Skill building activities
  • !  Policy advocacy
  • !  Provision of food
  • !  Hours of service delivered
  • !  Number of participants
  • !  Amount of materials

    distributed

  • !  Number of

    policies

    initiated

  • !  Number of

    organizations

    recruited

  • !  Pounds of food distributed

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 5

Sam@le >a%ic 4o(ic <odel

Resources

28 board members from community

6 staff with at least 2 years of agricultural eAperience

n200,000 annual budget

3 acres of land

Participants: 80o Native American, 9o Latino,

8o Biracial, 3o White

Youth ages 10- 14 and their families

Activities

Gardening classes

Cooking classes

Financial counseling for growers

Outputs

30 youth participate in farmer’s market

600 hours of volunteer time

12 courses on gardening

Outcomes

80o of participants felt less anAious about providing food for their families

Native American youth identification with culture increased

30o of participants changed their diets to include more fruit and vegetables

70o of participants increased their knowledge of healthful eating

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Feedback for Program Improvement

Community Food Security Coalition: 6

=;e Ste@% to Ae#elo@in( a >a%ic 4o(ic <odel

There is no right or wrong way to begin developing a logic model, the sequence of the steps presented below is only a suggestion. A worksheet on the following page is provided to help you develop your projects’ basic logic model.

Dhile we recommend starting with the end in mind V the goals of your program V information about constructing and choosing outcome measures is provided in the next chapter. As you read through these steps, and begin filling in the worksheet, you might want to leave the outcome square blank, or fill it in with your current ideas, and revise them after going through Chapter 3.

Step F. Establish your outcomes. Begin with one of your project’s goals. Translate this goal into one or more outcomes using Dorksheet X3 from Chapter 3. Remember that outcomes are specific changes in project participants’ behaviors, knowledge, skills, status and level of functioning) directly resulting from a project’s activities. Place these outcomes in the Outcomes column of the table on Dorksheet X1. If you have completed Dorksheet X3 and have decided on your outcome indicators and performance standards, you can also add these to the box.

Step 2. Enter your resources. Resources are those items dedicated to or consumed by the project (e.g., staff, facilities, funding, equipment, etc.). Place all the resources associated with your goal in the Resources column of the table of Dorksheet X1.

Step G. Enter your actiHities. Activities are what the program does with the resources to fulfill its mission. They are processes, tools, events, technology and actions* used to directly serve your participants. Place the activities for your goal in the Activities column of the table of Dorksheet X1.

Step I. Enter your anticipated outputs. Outputs are the direct products of program activitiesR they are the quantification of activities (e.g., number of participants served, number of hours of service provided, etc.). Place the outputs associated with your goal in the Outputs column of the table of Dorksheet X1.

Step J. Repeat steps 1-4 for each of your program goals.

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 7

Worksheet 1: Developing Your Project’s Basic Logic Model

Resources Activities Outputs Outcomesp

G see Chapter 3 for more information

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 8

” Coffman 1. 3″***4. 5earning from 5ogic ;odels? @n ABample of a FamilyFGchool Partnership Program. Cambridge, ;@? MarNard Family Oesearch Program.
# 5ogic model guide. 3Qctober #RRR4. W.T. Tellogg Foundation.
$ ;c5aughlin 1@ and 1ordan UV. 31uly “**)4. @ Tool for Telling Xour ProgramYs Performance Gtory. ZG [epartment of Anergy, Qffice of Anergy Afficiency and Oenewable Anergy.

% ;c5aughlin 1@ and 1ordan UV. 31uly “**)4. @ Tool for Telling Xour ProgramYs Performance Gtory. ZG [epartment of Anergy, Qffice of Anergy Afficiency and Oenewable Anergy.
& Vuilding a Guccessful PreNention Program. Western Oegional Center for the @pplication of PreNention Technologies. Center for Gubstance @buse PreNention.

‘ ;easuring Program Qutcomes? @ Practical @pproach. 3″**’4. Znited Way of @merica, ( Znited Way breaks outcomes into $ categories? initial, intermediate and long-term.
) @dapted from? 5ogic model guide. 3Qctober #RRR4. W.T. Tellogg Foundation.
* @dapted from? 5ogic model guide. 3Qctober #RRR4 W.T. Tellogg Foundation.

Chapter 2. Mapping Your Project Using a Logic Model

Community Food Security Coalition: 9