This presentation provides an overview of some important considerations to keep in mind when developing an initiative that may be supported by a grant-making organization. -Four main topic areas will be covered:1- How to convince people that a significant problem exists and then show that a new intervention is needed 2- Tools that you can use to prove that your project is effective3- What to keep in mind to promote your project’s efficiency4- What are some project deal-breakers and deal-makers?
It is crucial when you begin developing your project that you can easily show why you want to undertake this initiative. If you cannot do this convincingly, then it will be difficult to get others to support your intervention. There are two steps in proving that your project is required…STEP ONE:You should not expect your audience to accept your claims without supporting evidence. As such, make sure to provide credible proof whenever you make any statement of fact. This information mustbe from a trustworthy source (government or well-respected institution) and as recent as possible. QUOTE #1 B) It is useful to demonstrate the consequences of this problem on two levels: First, explain how this problem affects those who are directly involved. (QUOTE #2: ORANGE SECTION) Second, show how this problem affects the greater community. (QUOTE #2: GREEN SECTION)STEP TWO:After providing evidence that a problem exists that needs to be addressed, you should then prove that nothing is in place to address this problem and/or existing initiatives are not doing enough. This step will convince your audience that what you propose to do will not be duplicating existing measures. Providing a brief environmental scan of existing or past initiatives dedicateto solving the situation in your catchment is a good step (projects provided by either levels of government and othernot-for-profits).
Now that you have identified that a serious problem exists and that there is room for a new initiative to address this issue, the next step is making sure that what you propose will actually have the desired impact on the problem you want to address. Using a Theory of Change is a simple and clear cut way to test your project’s effectiveness as it lays out why you believe one thing will lead to the next.A Theory of Change can be captured in a series of IF-THEN statements: If something is done with or for project participants, then something should change.I will use a CASE STUDY to demonstrate how a TOC can be used to establish/test an intervention’s effectiveness. Here’s a backgrounder of the problem the case study focuses upon and the solution:-Problem: Learning outcomes (good grades, graduation rates, and participation in post-secondary education) and staffing conditions (sick days, burnout and turnover) are affected by violence (verbal and physical) in high schools (student/student and student/staff).-Solution: Design an intervention for students, staff, and caregivers to change behaviours that will reduce violence in high schools.
Let’s apply the Theory of Change IF-THEN approach to our violence in high schools case study:Theory/Assumption #1: If resources are available, then a program can provide a certain set of activities or services to participants. In this case, IF we have the right resources (funding, staff, knowledge and infrastructure resources),THEN we can provide activities to limit violence which is a factor that influences learning and career outcomes.Theory/Assumption #2: If participants take part in activities or receive services, then they will experience specific changes in their knowledge, attitudes or skills. In this case, IF facilitators provide nonviolent conflict management strategy training to students, THEN these students will develop nonviolent conflict management skills.Theory/Assumption #3: Ifa target group’s support network (family, friends, colleagues, supervisors) takes part in activities or receives services, then the target group is more likely to experience specific changes in their knowledge, attitudes or skills. In this case, IF facilitators provide conflict intervention strategy training to staff and caregivers, THENstudents will be supported in choosing to resolve conflicts peacefully.Theory/Assumption #4: If individuals change their knowledge, attitudes, or skills, then they will change their behavior and usual practice. In this case, IF students/staff/caregivers gain knowledge about how to avoid and/or defuse violent confrontations, THEN rates of violence in high schools will drop.
Once you have developed your Theory of Change, you can use a Logic Model Diagram to show how the outputs in your project will be effective.A Logic Model is a visual depiction of your project that shows how one component leads to the next; like a causal link flow chart from INPUTS to OUTPUTSto OUTCOMES.ClarifyTerminology: Inputs/Resources are what you need to provide an initiative Outputs are the elements of your initiative that your clients will receiveOutcomes/Impacts are the end goals of your initiativeI will use the same CASE STUDY to demonstrate how a Logic Model Diagram clearly maps all the components of an initiative.
Using a backwards process is the best way to develop a Logic Model Diagram (right to left on the page):Step 1: Identify the long-term outcomes you want to happen (for instance, improved social, economic or political conditions). In the case of our improving learning and career outcomes case study,better student learning outcomes and improved staff career outcomes are the long-term impacts we want.Step 2: Identify the short-term outcomes you want to happen (these include changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivation, awareness, behaviours, and practices). In the case of our improving learning and career outcomes case study, a decrease in student punishment, an increase in student academic performance and better working conditions for school staff are our the short-term outcomes we want.Step 3: Identify the outputs that you need to provide so that the short-term outcomes you want to happen will occur. In the case of our improving learning and career outcomes case study, providing conflict management sessions to students, providing conflict intervention sessions to caregivers and staff, and implementing a restorative justice model in the schools are the outputs we intend to provide that will lead to the short-tem impacts we want to see.Step 4: Determine what inputs you need to provide the outputs. In the case of our improving learning and career outcomes case study, we will need financial, human, knowledge and infrastructure resources.
While a Theory of Change and a Logic Model Diagram are useful approaches to test/show your project’s effectiveness, it is also important to ensure that your intervention will be a good value. There are three main areas of focus when considering a project’s efficiency:Outputs:-Are all proposed activities and/or services necessary for the outcomes you want to occur to happen? Case Study: Do we need the Restorative Justice Model activity to meet the outcomes?-Are the right people in place to complete the work you propose (number of people and credentials: education, experience and availability) or how can you hire the right people (are the hiring requirements attainable)?B) Timelines:-What about the overall timeliness of your project? Are there any external factors that you need to consider when setting your project timelines? What happens if one activity is delayed?*Consider how your project outcomes may be compromised if any of these issues arise.C) Budget:-Does the investment/client ratio make sense?-Are you using technology that represents the best value? (e.g. webinar instead of travelling; electronic copy instead of hard copy; website content instead of DVD)-Consider the potential of time-sensitive products: Electronic mediums (dvd, website) allow for revisions at relatively little cost.-Avoid “one-off” activities that will need to be replicated (for instance, consider a train-the-trainer model when possible as this will offer a legacy to the project).
Avoiding deal-breakers while including deal-makers are important considerations when developing a project. Here are three areas that could hurt/help your project:Consider your project’s long-term funding options: Outline a plan for how you will seek to ensure that your project lives on after it has been tested (i.e. who will you target for funding and when; can you use some sort of cost recovery approach or a social enterprise model so that your project could be partially/completely self-sustaining? This would promote long-term sustainability as you are relying less on grants to survive).B) Replication potential:-Think about how your project can be scaled or replicated in and/or outside your catchment. Case study: There is a very good potential to increase the number of schools or replicate in another School Board.-Consider if your project could be applicable to other clients. Case study: Mention that we can probablyadapt the High School model for Middle Schools and/or Elementary Schools.C) Ensuring that your project has an intellectual legacy sustains widespread changes even if your particular initiative ends:-Develop a strategy for how you will share your project template and materials developed as a consequence of the project (manuals/training guides/information documents).-Consider how your project can be part of a wider knowledge mobilization exercise. Can the findings of your project help policy advocates and policy-makers?
Here is a list of resources that you can refer to for further information about the topics we covered: Demonstrating the Problem and why your Solution is needed.Effectiveness.Efficiency.Intangible factors (deal breakers and makers)The Innovation Network and The Community Tool Box are especially useful as they provide resources, tools, and guides about all facets of an intervention (from planning, funding application, roll-out, reporting, and sharing).
Project Scope Presentation
Project Scope/Planning 101:A few things to consider when developing a new initiative. Mario R. Gravelle Learning & Innovation Analyst
Project Scope/Planning 101Identifying a need: Can you show that a problem exists and prove that a new intervention is needed? How can you ensure that your project will be effective? What makes your project efficient? What are project deal-breakers and deal-makers? 2
Identifying a NeedTwo steps that show your project is required…STEP ONE: Using the right approach to demonstrate that a problem needs to be addressed. “Verbal and physical violence in high schools is an ever increasing problem. According to the provincial government, each high school experiences at least three acts of violence (student on student and/or student on staff) per day. This number has doubled in the past ten years. (Provincial Government, Report on High School Violence. 2011)” “Acts of violence in high schools affect student learnings outcomes in two ways: First, systemic violence in high schools is very disruptive to the student body. Second, disciplinary measures force the perpetrators to miss important classroom time. Violent incidences also impacts staff career outcomes as it leads to poor workplace conditions. It is important to note that violence in high schools has an impact outside of the school setting as expenses incurred to prevent/come to terms with violent incidences (policing; disciplining offenders; and HR costs) are shouldered by the taxpayer. The funds to pay for these unnecessary expenditures could certainly be used in other places.”STEP TWO: Making a case for yourself by confirming that nothing is in place to address the issue or what is inplace is not effectively addressing the issue. 3
Effectiveness Using a Theory of Change to test/prove that your intervention will work.A Theory of Change expresses the underlying theories/beliefs that guide a servicedelivery strategy and are assumed to be critical for producing change and improvement.A Theory of Change can be captured in a series of IF-THEN statements: If something isdone with or for project participants, then something should change.Case Study: Improving student learning and staff career outcomes by decreasing violencein high schools. 4
Theory of Change: Improving Learning and Career OutcomesIF resources are available, THEN a IF a target group’s support network (family,program can provide a certain set of friends, colleagues, supervisors) takes part inactivities or services to participants. activities or receive services, THEN the target group is more likely to experience specific changes in their knowledge, attitudes or skills. In this case, IF we have the rightresources (funding, staff, knowledge and infrastructure), THEN we can In this case, IF facilitators provide conflict provide activities to limit violence intervention strategy training to staff and which is a factor that influences caregivers, THEN students will be supported in learning and career outcomes. choosing to resolve conflicts peacefully. 1 2 3 4 IF participants take part in activities or IF individuals change their knowledge, receive services, THEN they will attitudes or skills, THEN they will change experience specific changes in their their behavior and usual practice. knowledge, attitudes or skills. In this case, IF students/staff/caregivers In this case, IF facilitators provide gain knowledge about how to avoid nonviolent conflict management strategy and/or defuse violent confrontations, training to students, THEN these students THEN fewer incidences of violence will develop nonviolent conflict will occur in schools. management skills. 5
EffectivenessA Logic Model Diagram illustrates the connection between the theories that underscore your project and what you intend to provide that will lead to the outcomes you want to occur.Terminology: -Inputs/Resources (financial, human, knowledge and infrastructure) -Outputs (activities and services) -Outcomes/Impacts (changes in knowledge, attitudes or skills leading to changes in behavior and usual practice)A Logic Model Diagram acts as a drawing that shows how one component of an initiative leads to the next. INPUTS OUTPUTS OUTCOMESCase Study: Improving student learning and staff career outcomes by decreasing violence in high schools. 6
Logic Model: Improving Learning and Career Outcomes Inputs/Resources Outputs Outcomes/Impacts Short-Term Long-Term Financial: $81,500 Grant from The Counselling Conflict Management Foundation of Canada Sessions offered to 600 Students use nonviolent conflict $40,000 Grant from XYZ students in three high schools. management approach instead of Community Foundation violence: Decrease in student $48,500 In-kind from ACME Inc. punishment; increase in student Better studentSituation: academic performance; and better learning outcomes Human Resources: Conflict Intervention SessionsVerbal and working conditions for school staff. (higher graduation offered to 200 caregivers andphysical Program Manager rates and access to Program Assistant 100 staff members from threeviolence in Restorative Justice Trainer high schools. post-secondary Staff and caregivers usehigh schools Three staff members from each high nonviolent conflict management education) school and a representative from theaffects Big City School Board approaches to prevent violentstudent incidences: Decrease in student Restorative Justicelearning and Certification provided to the punishment; increase in student Knowledge:staff career Program Manager and one academic performance; and better Conflict Management and Conflictoutcomes. Intervention strategies staff member from each of working conditions for school staff. Improved staff Restorative Justice Model the respective high schools. career outcomes (decrease in staff Students and staff use Restorative burnout and Infrastructure: Justice Model to find appropriate Implementation of turnover) Meeting space at the schools resolutions to conflicts: Decrease Technology at the three high schools Restorative Justice Model in in incidences of violence at school; (overhead projectors and screens) three high schools. increase in student academic Conflict Management, Conflict performance; and better working Intervention and Restorative Justice materials conditions for school staff. 7
EfficiencyAre your proposed activities required and realizable? Are your timelines realistic? Is your budget reasonable? 8
Deal-breakers and deal-makers How do you intend to stay in business? Spreading the wealth through replicationThe added value of ensuring a project’s intellectual legacy 9
Resources Theory of Change and Logic Model Andrea Anderson, The Community Builder’s Approach to Theory of Change: A practical guide to theory and development. Julia Coffman, Learning From Logic Models: An Example of a Family/School Partnership Program.University of Wisconsin, Enhancing Program Performance with Logic Models. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide. Professional Development and Other Links American Evaluation Association Canadian Evaluation Society Innovation Network The Community Tool Box 10
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