Resource Feeds

New on SSIR: Collective Insights on Collective Impact

FSG - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 03:37
Dive deeper into important collective impact topics such as public policy, evaluation, sources of power, and community engagement.
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Carla Hillerns and Pei-Pei Lei on You had me at Hello: Effective Email Subject Lines for Survey Invitations

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 01:15

Did we get your attention? We hope so. We are Carla Hillerns and Pei-Pei Lei – survey enthusiasts at the Office of Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

An email subject line can be a powerful first impression of an online survey. It has the potential to convince someone to open your email and take your survey. Or it can be dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant. Today’s post offers ideas for creating subject lines that maximize email open rates and survey completion rates.

Hot Tips:

  • Make it compelling – Include persuasive phrasing suited for your target recipients, such as “make your opinion count” and “brief survey.” Research in the marketing world shows that words that convey importance, like “urgent,” can lead to higher open rates.
  • Be clear – Use words that are specific and recognizable to recipients. Mention elements of the study name if they will resonate with respondents but beware of cryptic study names – just because you know what it means doesn’t mean that they will.
  • Keep it short – Many email systems, particularly on mobile devices, display a limited number of characters in the subject line. So don’t exceed 50 characters.
  • Mix it up – Vary your subject line if you are sending multiple emails to the same recipient.
  • Avoid words like “Free Gift” (even if you offer one) – Certain words may cause your email to be labeled as spam.
  • Test it – Get feedback from stakeholders before you finalize the subject line. To go one step further, consider randomly assigning different subject lines to pilot groups to see if there’s a difference in open rates or survey completion rates.

Cool Trick:

  • Personalization – Some survey software systems allow you to merge customized/personalized information into the subject line, such as “Rate your experience with [Medical Practice Name].”

Lesson Learned:

  • Plan ahead for compliance – Make sure that any recruitment materials and procedures follow applicable regulations and receive Institutional Review Board approval if necessary.

Rad Resource:

  • This link provides a list of spam trigger words to avoid.

We’re interested in your suggestions. Please leave a comment if you have a subject line idea that you’d like to share.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Shortcut Week: Ana Drake on Macros and Hotkeys
  2. Susan Kistler on Formatting Qualitative Questions for Online Surveys
  3. Katya Petrochenkov on Surveygizmo

Prevention and Management of Government Expenditure Arrears

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:22
Posted by Mario Pessoa and Suzanne Flynn The accumulation of government expenditure arrears is one of the most common problems in public financial management (PFM).A survey of 121 Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) country assessment reports revealed that, in...
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Fiscal Transparency and Accountability – Why Did so Many Countries Meet in Moscow Recently to Discuss it?

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:21
POSTED BY: Elena Nikulina, PEMPAL Team Leader and Deanna Aubrey, PEMPAL Strategic Adviser (World Bank). On 27-29 May 2014, 179 people met in Moscow, Russia to discuss fiscal transparency and accountability. The meeting was held by the PEMPAL network[1] and...
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IMF’s new Fiscal Transparency Code and Evaluation

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:20
Posted by Sailendra Pattanayak[1] The IMF has just published a new Fiscal Transparency Code which replaces the earlier 2007 version. The new Code sets the standards for the disclosure of information on governments’ financial positions, prospects and risks, and is...
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Increasing Extractive Industry Revenues

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:20
Posted by Katherine Baer[1] On Monday, July 28th, the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) launched a new book: Administering Fiscal Regimes for Extractive Industries: A Handbook, by Jack Calder[2] [Available here!] This Handbook, a joint IMF and World Bank publication,...
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This is PFM – Looking Good but Does it Work?

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:19
Posted by Richard Allen An interesting new working paper[1] by an eclectic group of experts from Harvard University, the IMF, the World Bank, the Overseas Development Institute, the International Budget Partnership, and the Collaborative African Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) casts...
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IMF Guide on External Debt Statistics

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 09:18
Posted by Rita Mesías[1] The 2013 EDS Guide[2] is now available in hard copy (see It provides guidance on (1) the concepts, definitions, and classifications; (2) the sources and techniques for compiling; and (3) the analytical uses of external...
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Interview with Phil Sinnett, former PEFA Head

PFM blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 07:10
Posted by Richard Allen[1] Phil Sinnett recently retired as the Head of the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Secretariat, returning to live in South Africa. In this post, I interviewed Phil on his experiences of working for PEFA and...
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Molly Ryan on Using Icon Array to Visualize Data

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 01:15

Hello! I’m Molly Ryan, a Research Associate at the Institute for Community Health (ICH), a non-profit in Cambridge, MA that specializes in community based participatory research and evaluation. I am part of the team evaluating the Central Massachusetts Child Trauma Center (CMCTC) initiative, which seeks to strengthen and improve access to evidence-based, trauma-informed mental health treatment for children and adolescents. I would like to share a great resource that we use to visualize and communicate findings with our CMCTC partners.

Rad Resource: Icon Array University of Michigan researchers developed Icon Array to simply and effectively communicate risks to patients. For more information on why icons are so rad, check out Icon Array’s explanation and bibliography.

Hot Tip: Icon Array offers 5 different icons to choose from.

6 out of 11 reassessments (54.5%) received

Hot Tip: Icons aren’t just for risk communication! We use icons to help our partners understand and visualize their progress collecting reassessment data for clients.

14 out of 24 reassessments (58.3%) received
• 9 out of 14 (64.3%) complete
• 5 out of 14 (35.7%) incomplete

Cool Trick: Icon Array allows you to illustrate partial risk by filling only a portion of the icon. We used this feature to communicate whether a reassessment was complete or incomplete for a given client.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Sheila B Robinson on Being an “Iconic” Presenter! ;-)
  2. Susan Kistler on a Free Tool for Adding Interactivity to Online Reports: Innovative Reporting Part IV
  3. Loraine Park, Carolyn Verheyen, and Eric Wat on Tips on Asset Mapping

Cross-sector collaboration: unlocking youth potential

ODI general feed - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 00:00
The International Labour Organization estimates that 75 million young people worldwide are out of work, representing 40% of the world’s unemployed.
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Italy joins the party with new development agency

ODI general feed - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 00:00
'After 20 years of debate, negotiations and setbacks, Italy is finally stepping up its efforts on international development. Last week the parliament approved a new law setting out an ambitious agenda for reform, including the creation of a development agency and financing facility, funded by Italians’ postal savings.'
Read this blog in Italian
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Suspending disbelief - true love and budget credibility

ODI general feed - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 00:00
What’s the similarity between true love and managing a pile of budget documents from low-income countries? Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief in order to reconcile reality with expectation.
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Breakthrough returns to Sri Lanka

Volans - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 08:34
Sri Lanka’s Daily Financial Times announces John Elkington’s arrival in Colombo next month with the headline “Father of Triple Bottom Line John Elkington in Colombo next month”.  Read the article…

Read more >
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Volans has signed the Trillion Tonne Communiqué

Volans - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 04:40
Volans has signed the Trillion Tonne Communiqué to support the global call from business for a policy response to the explicit scientific warnings of the risks posed by the continuing rise…

Read more >
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Emily Lauer and Courtney Dutra on Person-Centered Evaluation: Aging and Disability Services

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 01:15

Hello, we are Emily Lauer and Courtney Dutra from the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Developmental Disability Evaluation and Research (CDDER). We have designed and conducted a number of evaluations of programs and projects for elders and people with disabilities. In this post, we focus on the topic of person-centered evaluations. We have found this type of evaluation to be one of the most effective strategies for evaluating aging and/or disability services, as it tends to provide results that are more valid and useful through empowering consumers in the evaluation process.

Why person-centered evaluation? Traditional evaluations tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach that risks supplanting judgment about consumers’ individual perspectives and may not evaluate components that consumers feel are relevant. In a person-centered evaluation, consumers of the program’s or project’s services are involved throughout the evaluation process. A person-centered evaluation ensures the program or project is evaluated in a way that:

  • is meaningful to consumers;
  • is flexible enough to incorporate varied perspectives; and
  • results in findings that are understandable to and shared with consumers.

Lessons Learned:

Key steps to designing a person-centered evaluation?

  1. Design the evaluation with consumers. Involve consumers in the development process for the evaluation and its tools.
  2. Design evaluations that empower consumers
    • Utilize evaluation tools that support consumers in thinking critically and constructively about their experiences and the program under evaluation. Consider using a conversational format to solicit experiential information.
    • Minimize the use of close-ended questions that force responses into categories. Instead, consider methods such as semi-structured interviews that include open-ended questions which enable consumers to provide feedback about what is relevant to them.
    • Consider the evaluation from the consumer’s perspective. Design evaluation tools that support varied communication levels, are culturally relevant, and consider the cognitive level (e.g. intellectual disabilities, dementia) of consumers.
  1. Involve consumers as evaluators. Consider training consumers to help conduct the evaluation (e.g. interviewers).
  2. Use a supportive environment. In a supportive environment, consumers are more likely to feel they can express themselves without repercussion, their input is valued, and their voices are respected, resulting in more meaningful feedback.

Hot Tip: Conduct the evaluation interview in a location that is comfortable and familiar for the consumer. When involving family or support staff to help the consumer communicate or feel comfortable, ensure they do not speak “for” the consumer, and that the consumer chooses their involvement.

  1. Involve consumers in synthesizing results. Involve consumers in formulating the results of the evaluation.

Rad Resource: Use Plain Language to write questions and summarize findings that are understandable to consumers.

Many strategies exist to elicit feedback from consumers who do not communicate verbally. Use these methods to include the perspective of these consumers.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


Related posts:

  1. EPE TIG Week: Yvonne M. Watson on Buying Green Today to Save and Sustain Our Tomorrow
  2. MA PCMH Eval Week: Christine Johnson on Self-Assessment Medical Home Transformation Tools
  3. Joi Moore on Facilitating Systematic Evaluation Activities

Riforma della cooperazione allo sviluppo

ODI general feed - Tue, 08/12/2014 - 00:00
'L'estate del 2014 verrà ricordata come una stagione di riforme: non solo quella storica del Senato, ma anche quella, altrettanto importante e da tempo attesa, sulla cooperazione allo sviluppo.'
Read this blog in English
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Public Consultation for Updating the PEFA Indicators

PFM blog - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:32
Posted by the PEFA Secretariat The Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Program, launched in 2001, has created a credible and comprehensive framework for assessing PFM functionality, which has been applied in a large number of countries since 2005—countries with...
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PD Presenters: Kerry Zaleski, Mary Crave and Tererai Trent on Whose Judgment Matters Most? Using Child-to-Child approaches to evaluate vulnerability-centered programs

American Evaluation Association 365 Blog - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 01:15

Hi Eval Friends! We are Kerry Zaleski and Mary Crave of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Tererai Trent of Tinogona Foundation and Drexel University. Over the past few years we have co-facilitated workshops on participatory M&E methods for centering vulnerable voices at AEA conferences and eStudies.

This year, we are pleased to introduce participatory processes for engaging young people in evaluation during a half day professional development workshop, borrowing from Child-to-Child approaches. Young people can be active change agents when involved in processes to identify needs, develop solutions and monitor and evaluate changes in attitudes and behaviors for improved health and well-being.

Child-to-Child approaches help center evaluation criteria around the values and perspectives of young people, creating environments for continual learning among peers and families. Children learn new academic skills and evaluative thinking while having fun solving community problems!

Child-to-Child approaches help young people lead their communities to:

  • Investigate, plan, monitor and evaluate community programs by centering the values and perspective of people affected most by poverty and inequality.
  • Overcome stigma and discrimination by intentionally engaging marginalized people in evaluation processes.

We are excited to introduce Abdul Thoronka, a community health specialist from Sierra Leone, as a new member of our team. Abdul has extensive experience using participatory methods and Child-to-Child approaches in conflict- and trauma- affected communities in Africa and the US.

Lessons Learned:

  • Adult community members tend to be less skeptical and more engaged when ‘investigation’ types of exercises are led by children in their community rather than external ‘experts’. The exercises make learning about positive behavior change fun and entertaining for the entire community.
  • Young people are not afraid to ‘tell the truth’ about what they observe.
  • Exercises to monitor behaviors often turn into a healthy competition between young people and their families.

Hot Tips:

  • Child-to-child approaches can be used to engage young people at all stages of an intervention. Tools can include various forms of community mapping, ranking, prioritizing, values-based criteria-setting and establishing a baseline to measure change before and after an intervention.
  • Build in educational curricula by having the children draw a matrix, calculate percentages or develop a bar chart to compare amounts or frequency by different characteristics.
  • Explain the importance of disaggregating data to understand health and other disparities by different attributes (e.g. gender, age, ability, race, ethnicity)
  • Ask children to think of evaluation questions that would help them better understand their situation.

Rad Resources:

Child-to-Child Trust

The Barefoot Guide Connection

AEA Coffee Break Webinar 166: Pocket-Chart Voting-Engaging vulnerable voices in program evaluation with Kerry Zaleski, December 12, 2013 (recording available free to AEA members).

Robert Chambers 2002 book: Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas and Activities.

Want to learn more? Register for Whose Judgment Matters Most: Using Child-to-Child approaches to evaluate vulnerability-centered programs at Evaluation 2014.

We’re featuring posts by people who will be presenting Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2014 in Denver, CO. Click here for a complete listing of Professional Development workshops offered at Evaluation 2014. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Related posts:

  1. Kim Sabo Flores on Engaging Youth in Evaluation
  2. Ed Eval Week: Silvana Bialosiewicz on Tips for Collecting Valid and Reliable Data from Children
  3. YFE Week: Kim Sabo Flores and David White on Youth Focused Evaluation: One Year And Growing Strong!

Learning why and how reform works will improve UK aid

ODI general feed - Mon, 08/11/2014 - 00:00
'Another week, another review of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID): yet, amongst the scrutiny, not enough attention is paid to ensuring how DFID can learn from why certain approaches work better than others.'
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