This resource provides a comprehensive approach to planning community change efforts and creates direct links between planning and evaluation.
The authors begin this chapter explaining the purpose and value of planning. In addition, they contextualize planning for “change agents” by directly connecting it to the vision and values that guide social justice and community organizing work. The authors also explain the use of logic models in the planning process, tying the resources/inputs and activities of change organizations to outputs, outcomes, and impacts in our communities.
Using these concepts, the authors outline how a group can plan key elements of their change efforts (i.e. organizing campaigns), such as selecting issues/solutions and identifying targets. As the authors outline these different components of a planning process, they also call attention to the need to assess both the process and the impact when enacting these plans. They distinguish between monitoring (creating indicators to make sure that the planned tasks are completed) and evaluation (creating indicators of the outcomes and impacts of the plan). This differentiation can help potential evaluators recognize the key relationship between these two types of indicators and make sure to include both in their evaluation processes.
The authors encourage readers not only to create measures of effectiveness, but also to create indicators of trouble. Recognizing that change efforts are often plagued by obstacles such as lack of skills, lack of interest, and a thirst for immediate action, the authors remind change agents to monitor anticipated obstacles in order to proactively identify problems and refine actions.
Lastly, the authors remind readers to use broad vision when conducting monitoring and evaluation. In addition to reviewing the actions one is taking, the authors advise change agents to also build indicators that call attention to the reactions of others. Measuring reactions to planned actions is a way not only to measure impact, but also to refine future activities.