Many community-based agencies have been turned off by or have had bad experiences with evaluators. Michael believes that most problems that agencies have had with evaluators stem from the evaluators lack of experience or understanding of the day-to-day demands of serving clients. Many evaluators are overzealous in their desire to collect as much data as possible and some researchers are looking to get publications out of the evaluations and disappear once the data is collected and analyzed.
Michael has worked very closely with programs for many years and understands that in good times and bad, line-staff give 110 percent and neither have the time nor energy to spend additional time collecting “useless data.” He works closely with programs—with line staff as well as administrators—to identify data collection instruments that are minimally burdensome to use, appropriate for the population being served, and maximally helpful in working with clients and improving the overall program. He also spends whatever time is needed to understand the purpose and need for evaluation: is it to provide evidence to funders that the program works, is it to establish an ongoing program quality improvement, is it a requirement to participate in a cross-site evaluation, is it to get listed on a list of “evidence-based” programs, is it to figure out what services are actually provided, or is it to determine whether a program is being implemented with fidelity. Whether the task is to set up systems so that a program can regularly secure the kind of information it is seeking or whether a program desires an external evaluation, Michael can accommodate your needs.