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Decide what goals are most important to evaluate

Look at the goals and plans you developed for your policy or program. Why did you decide to use certain strategies? What outcomes were you expecting as a result? All strong evaluations begin with a clear, visual map showing how strategies will achieve change. If you haven’t developed a logic model or grounded your actions in a theory of change, now is the time to go back to Choose Effective Policies & Programs and clearly define your goal.

If you are evaluating an advocacy/policy initiative, the Advocacy Progress Planner uses a logic model framework to help you think through a menu of goals, outcomes, and strategy options. Use the online planner to:

  1. Define the impacts and policy goals your advocacy strategy is trying to achieve.
  2. Identify activities and tactics you are using to achieve the impacts and policy goals.
  3. Identify interim outcomes.

It is especially important to think about setting short-, medium-, and long-term goals for both program and advocacy/policy evaluation. If you only focus on long-term goals (such as reducing obesity), you will not be able to demonstrate progress and your initiative will likely lose momentum. If you focus on short- or medium-term goals (such as increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption by adopting a farm-to-school policy in your school district), you will be able to measure progress throughout your initiative. Since policy goals usually take years to accomplish, it’s especially important to measure interim goals along the way so that advocacy efforts aren’t unfairly judged as unsuccessful.