With so many components to assess, any evaluator for a CHIPS grant client needs experience. Firstly, they must be well-versed in multiple evaluation approaches. Secondly, your evaluator should provide an agile methodology-like experience that is collaborative and iterative throughout the evaluation process. Finally, they should have thoroughly read the CHIPS NOFO.
A mixed-methods approach to evaluating CHIPS should include the following,
- Empowerment Evaluation focuses stakeholder involvement approach designed to provide groups with the tools and knowledge they need to monitor and evaluate their performance and accomplish their goals. (We do this. We help educate and inform our clients on data collection and analysis best practices)
- Utilization-Focused Evaluation, which states evaluation should be judged on its usefulness to its intended users. Therefore, evaluations should be planned and conducted in ways that enhance the likely utilization of both the findings. Additionally, evaluations should enhance the process itself to inform decisions and improve performance. (We make sure that everything we do is useful and appropriate for the evaluation)
- Collaborative Outcomes Reporting is a participatory approach to impact evaluation based on a performance story that presents evidence of how a program has contributed to outcomes and impacts, which is then reviewed by both technical experts and program stakeholders. Additionally, this may include community members. (We involve key stakeholders and the project team to inform and get input on outcomes)
- Rapid Evaluation is a way to deliver program evaluation findings quickly to inform decision-making when working with stakeholders. (Data is collected in real-time and is analyzed quickly so that the team can make informed decisions.)
Hiring an evaluator
One best practice is to hire an independent external evaluator (Like us!!). Thus, below is a quick list of some of the data the external evaluator should expect to collect. Your evaluator should help you asses what data will need to be collected during the award period and a plan to make such collection complete and efficient.
What should your evaluator do?
The evaluator you select should
- Be an experienced evaluator or evaluation firm (FYI – we are);
- Be committed to creating regional-scale, technology-driven innovation ecosystems throughout every region of the United States, accelerating emerging technologies, driving economic growth, addressing key societal challenges, and maintaining national competitiveness (FYI – we do) ;
- Have a working knowledge of all guidelines, protocols, processes, and evaluation requirements (FYI – we totally do).
Got questions on how to find an External Evaluator? We have you covered. Check out this post from August 2020. https://www.ebhoward.com/choosing-the-right-external-evaluator/
Want to know a little bit more about our Evaluation Services? We have you covered. See more here. https://www.ebhoward.com/evaluation-4/
Want to talk with us about how we serve as your External Evaluator for the CHIPS grant proposal? Schedule a consult call today. https://calendly.com/ebhoward/15min
We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.