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.
10 May, 2017

Try This: The Journey Map

By | 2017-05-10T11:28:02+00:00 May 10th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Last month, I introduced design thinking, a process many nonprofits and community groups are using to generate engagement with communities. Empathy is the first step in the process, and the user persona is an outcome we can use to develop programs and services for the ideal communities we want to reach.

Today, let’s focus on the second step in the design thinking process: Define.

After creating a user persona based on the empathy interviews and observation we’ve conducted, we begin to define the problem we want to solve, based on the insights of the intended user. Let’s do this by creating a Journey Map.

The goal of a Journey Map is to give a holistic view of what a stakeholder is going through from their point of view. In the case of creating a program or service, having a variety of stakeholders (a potential program participant, a program facilitator,  and the program manager, for example) can yield insights into how a program may work from various perspectives.

Here’s what you need: 

  • A stack of large Post-It notes in one color
  • Two smaller stacks of Post-It notes in two different colors
  • Some Sharpie markers
  • White butcher paper (or a clean white board wide enough for multiple Post-Its)

The steps:

Let’s go back to the user persona we created:

This example is “Nicole”, a nonprofit worker that works at a nonprofit that provides services for formally incarcerated women. She wants to create an awareness campaign that teaches formally incarcerated women about the Reproductive Justice framework and teaches advocacy skills to help formally incarcerated women advocate for accessible reproductive healthcare, both during incarceration and during the transition process. Nicole has now been given the OK to create the program from the executive director. Now, she can work on introducing the RJ framework to staff to generate buy-in for the program and campaign.

Each person get a stack of large Post-Its and 2 stacks of smaller Post-Its (each in different colors) and a Sharpie. The larger Post-Its will be the steps, and the smaller Post-Its will be the “pain points”.

Next, have each participant map out the process of creating this program from their perspective. For this example, let’s have Nicole create her journey map by mapping out her ideal steps needed to create a Reproductive Justice 101 presentation for staff and steps needed to recruit staff to help develop the program and campaign.

Using the large Post-It notes, Nicole creates the following steps and places them on the butcher paper:

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26 Apr, 2017

How to Authentically Engage for Lasting Impact

By | 2017-05-10T09:38:01+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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