Building Evidence For Effective Programs

Today we are reposting this blog from August 2018. It highlights a resource that remains relevant and informative. Some content has been edited and updated.

How do you build evidence for effective programs? What can be done to demonstrate that programs are effective?

Child Trends, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has produced Building Evidence for Effective Programs, a six video series that covers the processes and principles of becoming an evidence-based program. The videos are based on workshops Child Trends originally developed for the Washington, D.C. area, but are now available to all. They demonstrate and explain how strategic use of data can support educational programs in achieving their organization’s mission.

“When these workshops launched, many nonprofit leaders were anxious because funders were telling them that they needed to be ‘data-driven’ and ‘evidence-based,’ but they didn’t know how or why they should do this.” – Child Trends

What is an evidence-based program?

“Programs comprised of a set of coordinated services/activities that demonstrate effectiveness based on research. Criteria for rating as such depend upon organization or agency doing the rankings. [Evidence-based programs] may incorporate a number of evidence-based practices in the delivery of services.” – Children’s Services Council

Here’s the introductory video:

The first video provides an overview of the workshop, while videos 2 through 5 cover the steps in the process of becoming an evidence-based program:

The website also includes practical guides and toolkits to use with the videos. These resources further break down each step in the process and delve deeper into each topic area. They also provide practical guidance and further resources to collect more data (note that these are mostly American databases).

For more on building evidence-based programs, check out the resources below.


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