Recently, the lack of effectiveness of federally-funded programs has been a topic in the news. We know that same yardstick - dollars per unit of effectiveness- is also important at non-profits. Continued funding for programs is contingent on evidence based-outcomes provided through data. Also, our staff needs to know what about our programs is working. Areas of professional practice, such as medicine, psychology, and also social work have had periods in the past where methods and practice were based on the anecdotal experiences of others and were not rooted in valid scientific evidence. Evidence-based practice is research finding that is derived from the collection of data. It is tested and proven rather than based on someone’s experience.
At the National Adoption Center, we do collect and analyze data and use it to inform our program work. Recently we decided to step it up a notch and work with a researcher to look at what data we are collecting for one of our core programs, Match Events. These events are held a minimum of six times a year and we have been surveying our attendees, the families, social workers and the youth. With the help of a researcher, we have crafted more meaningful surveys that will provide us with specific outcomes we are looking to measure. As an organization, it will benefit our work to look at every core program and evaluate its effectiveness, usefulness and all outcomes.