We are so pushed for results, we often forget to take stock of the processes we took to get here. There is so much pressure from the outside to slice bread differently, that we sometimes fail to learn from past action. When something works, it might be a good thing to keep slicing that bread the same way. Or maybe it didn’t and you need a better knife. Meaningful evaluations ensure we take stock of the real nutrients in our stew, and not just pick out the most flavoursome morsels.

We take the longer evaluation with the core team; the folks who have been there from the beginning and saw this action through. You should assign a chair, time-keeper and scribe, and send out a detailed agenda in advance. This gives people a real opportunity to reflect and give thorough answers.

The meeting should last one hour. I run final evaluations before a celebratory meal. Even if it didn’t all work out as planned, together we did try to make the world better. That is something worth getting pizza for.

Seven steps

1.Rounds

Ask everyone to go around and say one highlight/lowlight. It can be from any stage in the action.

2. Feelings

  1. How did you feel during the build up of the action? Is there any moment that sticks out for you?
  2. How did you feel after the action and have your feelings changed since then? How/why?
  3. Now we are coming to a close how are we feeling as a team?

3. Logistics

  1. What were the logistics like (accessibility/refreshments/venue/sound/temperature)?
  2. What could be done better?

4. Reaction

Break the reaction down into four parts:

  1. Power:
  • Who had power in this action and how was it shown?
    • Are we more powerful as a result of this action?
  1. Recognition:
  • Who did the action recognise?
  • Who do we want to recognise now?
  • Did we get media recognition?
  1. Relationship:
  • Did we build a relationship with our target?
  • Do we have stronger relationships with the people/institutions we worked with?
  • Has our relationships with the team and volunteers grown?
  1. Respect:
  • Was respect shown to the people at the action?
  • Did we gain respect from our target?
  • Was respect shown to each other, could we have been better and how?

5. Leadership

  1. Who was the team and where was their leadership shown?
  2. Did we demonstrate our power by bringing leaders of the community to our action? Who?
  3. Did we offer opportunities for people to learn new leadership skills and development? How could this be improved?

6. Interests

  1. What were the core interests at play here? Were they portrayed openly or hidden?
  2. What were the common interests and opposing interests discovered through this action? Can we work around them going forward?

7. Next steps

  1. Do we call this a day and close the campaign or is there energy to continue?
  2. Is there a series of follow up actions to come off the back of this? What are they?
  3. Who will be moving on and who do we bring into the team? When do we want to start again? Put key dates in the diary.