Have you ever wondered if your programs are truly making a difference? Whether goals for your program include establishing new skills for your target audience, moving the needle on a particular piece of legislation, or increasing engagement from a specific demographic group, establishing a process to effectively measure the outcomes of your programs is essential to ensure the programs are making an impact for both your audiences and organization.
The cover story in the June/July issue of FORUM Magazine covers this exact issue. The story features the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its efforts to measure the impact its Engineering Projects in Community Services (EPICS) program was having on future engineers, global communities and the development of innovative solutions to address common challenges. Not surprisingly, this was no small task. However, with the appropriate research approach and guidance, McKinley Advisors was able to help IEEE develop a rigorous program assessment process that clearly showed the effects the EPICS program was having in global communities. In fact, the results were quite impressive:
- University student participation in the program led to advanced problem solving abilities as well as increased knowledge and comfort with technical design
- University participants experienced significant growth in their “soft skills,” such as mentoring high school participants, managing budgets and timelines, and establishing relationships within local communities
- Participation deepened students’ passion for pursuing engineering as a profession and using their skills as a vehicle for social change
- In many cases, communities are continuing to use or increasing their demand for EPICS program solutions (e.g., increased solar phone chargers in South Africa and adoption of new communications software in Argentinian schools)
At their very heart, associations attempt to create and deliver useful programs that make a difference, not just in members’ lives and careers, but also for causes they care about. In a world where members and end users expect constant product innovation and value from programs, establishing a process to measure not some, but all of your programs, is absolutely critical, both for your bottom line and for achieving your mission. Interested in learning more about this process? Drop us a line and let’s talk about the programs you want to measure.