This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
26 Apr, 2017

How to Authentically Engage for Lasting Impact

By | 2017-04-25T21:53:29+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

 

If you want to authentically engage and make a lasting impact, you need to get at the heart of a person’s lived experience.

This is the heart of the design thinking process. This process has been used by businesses for who knows how long, and anyone–social workers, educators, students and more–can use this process.

In fact, design thinking helped me fall back in love with the Reproductive Justice movement because I was rapidly burning out. I wanted another way to remain engaged in the movement, and wanted to reenter the movement from another angle. Being introduced to design thinking by CoreAlign and the American Evaluation Association  a few years ago was the answer.

In short, design thinking (which came out of the Design School at Stanford University), is a structured approach to generating ideas by getting into the mind of of the audience you’re trying to reach.

We’re designers, in one form or another. Teachers develop class curricula based in district expectations and well as students’ learning styles. Social workers and others in the helping professions create evidence-based interventions that meet the needs of the populations they work with. Businesses create products based on user feedback. The best way to make something better is by going to the source.

Here’s the process:

 

The first step in the design thinking process is discovering why the audience does what they do, their physical and emotional needs, their worldview, and what’s meaningful to them. This is the most important step in the process because in order to create a solution, you must identify why finding a solution matters to them.

It’s having a conversation, and it moves people from being statistics to names and faces. Having conversations with the intended user and observing them in their environment allows you to see behaviors within the context of  their lived experience. Insights from these conversations hones into what really matters from their perspective. Oftentimes, we think we know what the problems are, and we create programs, services, and initiatives that aren’t successful because the voices of the people we’re wanting to reach weren’t involved in the process.

I’ll go into depth of each part of the design thinking process later, but today we’re going to use a tool that allows you to to get at the heart of a person’s lived experience: The User Persona.

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29 Mar, 2017

What Does Reproductive Justice Look Like in Your Community?

By | 2017-03-29T15:48:23+00:00 March 29th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation, Reproductive Justice, Workshop Design & Facilitation|Tags: , , |0 Comments

I recently shared in this infographic some background information on people who filled out my Reproductive Justice training/toolkit survey, particularly what they struggle with related to integrating RJ in their programs, services, and community campaigns.

Today, let’s take a look some additional information that uncovers insight into what’s important to people in embracing RJ.

In the infographic I shared the various identities of the respondents (students, nonprofit professionals, community volunteers, etc.), but what I didn’t share was where respondents were located.

Out of 77 respondents,

  • The majority (77%) live in the Northeast region of the United States (New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, etc.)
  • Ten percent live in the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, etc.)
  • Six percent live on the West Coast or in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, California, Washington, etc.)
  • Five percent live in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, etc.)
  • Two percent live in the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, etc.)

This information is important because it highlights a key component in developing a program or service: Where you are plays a vital role in how successful and adaptable a program, service, or campaign will be. Success is subjective, but being able to create a program, service or campaign that can be easily adaptable to the community it’s placed in is important.

I’ve lived in New York City since 2008. I’m originally from Georgia. When it comes to real estate, the job market, social services and more, New York and Georgia are two totally different worlds. Making $100,000 a year in Georgia looks completely different from making that annual income in New York.  Likewise, getting funding for programs and services may look differently in New York compared to Georgia. More importantly, what prevents a community from fully achieving Reproductive Justice is dependent on where that community is located. While some things may be similar, there are aspects unique to a community, city, or state that can add to or detract from achieving Reproductive Justice.

Let’s take a look at some of the responses to the question “In your opinion, what barriers do you/your community face in achieving Reproductive Justice?”, broken down by region:

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15 Mar, 2017

Reproductive Justice: Your Struggles, Your Recommendations [INFOGRAPHIC]

By | 2017-03-15T12:13:03+00:00 March 15th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation, Reproductive Justice, Workshop Design & Facilitation|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

One of my projects for 2017 is the creation of a training series that aligns my business’ primary offerings: program design, program evaluation, and Reproductive Justice.

My original idea was to create a product or service that helps nonprofits evaluate their programming based on the RJ framework, based on my training as an evaluator with knowledge on different types of evaluative theories that I feel best align with Reproductive Justice.

My focus shifted largely based on my experiences with current and past clients. They shared that while they embrace Reproductive Justice, some weren’t sure how they could implement the framework in their workplace, on campus, or in their community settings. Some of their concerns included a lack of overall knowledge around RJ, an inability to explain what the framework is to various audiences, not being in positions of influence where they have the authority to include the framework in their programming and activities, or they see how RJ could fit within the context of their current work (even though the desire is there).

Plus, for a long time I’ve been hired to work with clients in a very siloed way, where they originally work with me in one way, and would rehire me because they see that they can benefit from one of my other offerings. I wanted to create a way to marry program design, program evaluation, and Reproductive Justice, and for it to be useful for clients, community members, students, human service providers, educators, activists, government agencies, and whoever else wants to see Reproductive Justice within the context of design thinking and evaluation theory. In essence, this training and toolkit is my way of intentionally shifting toward teaching and educating the value of design thinking and evaluation (along with Reproductive Justice) so that it becomes more engaging.

In order for make sure this training and toolkit will be useful, I conducted a survey to see what are current struggles folks are facing with Reproductive Justice, how they create programs, services and campaigns (and what are the driving factors behind why these programs, services and campaigns exist), and how they gather feedback that shows the impact of their work on the communities they care about. Using Piktochart, I created an infographic below that shares some of the highlights.

For now, this project is called the “Reproductive Justice Training & Toolkit”. When it launches (which is expected to be in early Summer 2017), it’ll have a catchier title. While the survey is closed, you can still share how this training and toolkit can help you. Email me at contact[at]nicoleclarkconsulting[dot]com and we’ll set up a time to chat.

And now, let’s take a look at the infographic: 

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8 Mar, 2017

Try This: Ask Better Questions

By | 2017-04-12T11:39:00+00:00 March 8th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Starting today, we’re going to ask better questions. Questions that allow you to dig deeper to unearth richer experiences. This is crucial in gaining a better understanding of why someone keeps (or stops) coming back to your programs, products or services.

When I say “dig deeper”, what I’m getting at is being strategic in how we ask questions. There’s a difference between asking questions that allow you to truly hear what someone is saying, and asking questions because you’re searching for certain types of responses.

Digging deeper, goes beyond “I love it!” or “I wouldn’t change a thing”.  People are coming back to you for a reason, and these reasons can help you enhance what you’re offering, and can also inspire you to come up with creative and engaging solutions to address other needs that you’re currently not addressing.

Tips and examples 

Good questions are:

  • Unbiased
  • Empowering
  • Provide a safe space for the person to feel comfortable responding to
  • Stretch the person who is responding 

I’ve highlighted the last point for a reason. Here’s an example:

Back in 2015, I facilitated a few focus groups for a client, a nonprofit that provides social justice oriented feminist leadership for young women of color. The focus groups were for the organization’s 6-week summer leadership program for young women of color in the New York City area. The organization wanted to know, among  other things, how effective the program had been that summer.

Okay, sounds easy. I did a few site visits during the 5th week of the program to facilitate the focus groups. I had my questions ready based on the evaluation questions the organization sought out to explore. During the first focus group, I asked “Looking back on everything you’ve learned during the past 5 weeks, can you share something that you would change?” Some of the responses I got looked similar to “I loved everything!” or “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “Everything was good”.

Initially, I chalked it up to the participants being teenagers. Then I realized they were responding this way because of HOW I asked the question.

So, I tried a different approach for the second and third focus groups:

Looking back on everything you’ve learned during this program, if you could rebuild this program from the ground up, based on your own needs and interests, what would it look like? 

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8 Feb, 2017

Try This: Roll The Dice

By | 2017-02-08T04:03:36+00:00 February 8th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Last month I shared The World Cafe  as an activity you can use to engage participants outside of traditional means of collecting data. Today, let’s look at one activity you can use to guide participants in making sense of it all and drawing their own conclusions.

“Rolling the dice” usually means “let’s see what happens”. For this activity, it takes on a whole new meaning.

(Though technically, “making sense of it all and drawing your own conclusions” could also mean “seeing what happens”, but humor me for a bit.)

Here’s what you need

  • Two boxes that are roughly the same size
  • 12 sheets of paper
  • A marker
  • Tape
  • Tape recorder

Ways to use this activity 

I’ve used this activity in two ways: facilitating focus groups and data interpretation meetings.

Focus groups are generally used to gather feedback, and I’ve been asked to facilitate them as part of a program’s evaluation. In this context, each side of the die represents an evaluation question posed to the focus group.

In the context of a data interpretation meeting (also known as a “data party”), each side of the die either illustrates a piece of quantitive data (such as percentages from a survey or a report connected to the evaluation) or a piece of qualitative data (such as themes identified and coded from transcribing responses from a focus group). In simplest terms, coding identifies themes occurring across focus groups, informant interviews, observation notes, etc. With coding you can identify overarching themes as well as themes specific to the group or people in question, and this can be illustrated as a quote, percentage, etc.

Let’s create our dice

  • Take one sheet of paper
  • For a focus group: Write out an evaluation question you want to pose to the group
  • For a data party: Write out a theme you coded
  • tape the sheet of paper to one side of a die
  • Repeat for each side until all sides are covered

And that’s it.

Now, let’s see this in action

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