What Lessons Have You Learned? Your Evaluation

Remember to incorporate periodic evaluations or debriefings into your planning calendar. This can be done monthly, quarterly, prior to board meetings, or immediately after the completion of an event or campaign so that it is still fresh in your minds. Evaluation can be focused on the number of placements achieved or can be broader to encompass your overarching advocacy goals. In the ALA’s Library Advocates Handbook, the following chart of indicators is listed:

Key advocacy indicators might be:

  • Has funding improved?
  • Did the law pass?
  • Did demand for a particular service increase?
  • Did you receive editorial support?
  • Does the library enjoy greater prestige?
  • Did you get requests after items appeared in the media?
  • What type of comments did you receive or hear?
  • Did you build your advocacy network?

Here are a few ways to incorporate evaluation:

  • In the day or two following an event, meet with staff that were involved to discuss objectively how you could do it better next time. Talk about the event or activity itself, your time line, media outreach, etc. Remember to make this a constructive session, not one to point fingers. Once you’ve figured out how to do it better, implement these changes.
  • Consider passing out an evaluation form to guests, if appropriate, at your event. Ask questions like:
  • How did you hear about the event? What do they read? What websites do they scan frequently? Do they respond to email alerts?
  • How would you rate the event overall? (provide a scale for a response)
  • Will you consider joining us next year for a similar event?
  • What was your favorite part of the event?
  • Are there any suggestions you can make to help us improve next year’s event? If you ask for evaluations, be sure to really examine and consider making changes next time – and, if appropriate, let the attendees know their feedback really counted.
  • Keep a running tab of all of the media you reached out to and the placements you achieved. Create a chart to record them. In the chart consider listing them by type of outlet, such as radio, television, print, Internet, or wire services, then create a column for the date, the outlet, the name of the actual article or show and the reporter if notable. If available, include the circulation or audience numbers. If this is an annual event or activity, compare how you did this year with last and use these items to create a plan for upcoming years.