Designing and Implementing a NORC Program
Guiding Principle # 6
A NORC program measures its progress to determine whether its projects are on track to reach their goals.
Without monitoring the status and progress of projects, it is impossible to manage a NORC program effectively. A process evaluation measures the basic outputs of each project so that progress can be tracked.
A tool for enhancing accountability, the process evaluation supplies the information to describe what activities and services were provided and to whom. For example, it can help chart what was done to publicize an event, recruit volunteers, and draw in senior residents. It can also be used to assess the impact of different strategic approaches; for example, did more people come for a meal after the time it was offered was changed?
What is learned can help to:
- Monitor the early implementation of a project.
- Assess whether activities are proceeding as planned.
- Identify challenges and change an approach.
Collecting information about process also provides a foundation on which to draw conclusions about outcomes. For example, during a process evaluation, a NORC program can count the number of home safety assessments that were conducted. Later, during an outcome evaluation, the impact of that activity on the risk of falls can be assessed. (For a discussion of steps in an outcome evaluation, see Evaluating the Projects of a NORC Program.)