(Disclosure: I have a small consulting role on this project)
You may have read what I’ve written about Wired: Evaluation Settlement Online (WESO) before here and here. Those articles should give you a good grounding in the what of WESO. In this post I’m going to explain why you, a manager at an Immigrant and Refugee-serving organization, should learn about, take the WESO training, and implement the WESO toolkit.
First, a quick reminder of what WESO is and does
Your front-line staff’s work is the heart and soul of your organization. Naturally, you want to understand the impact of their work. You may have some anecdotal knowledge based on their interactions with clients and discussions with your staff. You might even conduct client surveys, evaluate specific events, workshops, and programs, or hold interviews and focus groups with clients. However, your organization may lack a formal method to consistently collect and assess the long-term impact of your work with clients.
The WESO toolkit can take care of that for you. With a few simple changes to your intake practices and some questions on your client surveys.
The toolkit includes a data collection tool you can use. It's an evidence-based client survey that you can use to collect client feedback. If you already have some form of a data collection tool, the WESO tool can complement that. If you don’t have such a tool, WESO gives it to you.
Ready to use. Out of the box.
Even better, WESO has a ready-to-use Excel template that you can use to generate a report from these surveys. That report tells you what areas of work need improvements. It outlines areas that have waste.
Imagine. A tool that tells you where to keep focusing your efforts. And where you don’t need to focus because it’s not important or impactful for clients.
The toolkit provides you with a step-by-step action plan to implement an evaluation approach. You'll measure and identify areas where you are doing great, and areas for improvement.
Your staff are busy enough. This tool can help you to help them focus their limited time and resources on what’s working.
You’ll understand your clients more than ever before. You'll have concrete evidence to present to your organizational leadership about areas that need improvement. Your staff has been trying to convince you and others about these areas for years. The WESO toolkit and report can help formalize their efforts. With this toolkit, you'll have reliable and accurate evidence that cannot be denied, and you'll be able to take action based on it.
That may sound like a lot. It's important that we all understand how to work with data. Data management and analysis are increasingly important skills. We know this from recent research in our sector as well as the broader nonprofit sector.
Good data practices are the foundation of being able to work effectively with AI. If you’re not already working with AI, you will be. Your work with AI should focus on how it can enhance and improve your organization’s work and Newcomer outcomes.
Start building your skill-set and appreciation of data management through the WESO toolkit.
The WESO team is available until the end of 2023 to support you as you implement the toolkit in your work.
It starts with an information session where you can learn more from the WESO team. From there they’ll work with you to train your staff on the toolkit and how to implement it in your organization. Then they’ll support you as you implement your new evaluation approach.
The project is currently funded until March 2024. Connect with the team soon. Get started. Help take the guesswork out of your evaluation.
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