Partnering to Serve Nonprofit Organizations
Research and Planning
Measuring the success of each program we deliver to change participants’ attitudes and behaviors is as important to us as delivering education sessions. We have designed a rigorous evaluation system and use the results to continually adjust and improve our programs. We also assist other nonprofit organizations to do the same.
Evaluation Services, Capacity Building, and Technical Assistance
The CFSS evaluation team provides a comprehensive package of evaluation services. We work with a university-affiliated independent evaluator and a team of doctoral students to analyze data and work with partners during peak reporting times; database system experts who developed and maintain an online tracking system to generate surveys with unique identifiers and link program participation directly to outcomes, and in-house staff who manage survey administration and processing.
What sets CFSS apart from other nonprofit community organizations is that we are a strong proponent of theory-driven program evaluation. Good theory provides guidelines for designing a program, as well as its evaluation, and a frame of reference for understanding the significance of evaluation results.
Capacity Building Services
By partnering with seasoned professionals in various fields (finance, technology, communications, management), CFSS offers services to help nonprofit organizations increase their effectiveness, enhance their ability to provide social services to serve those most in need, expand their organizations, diversify their funding sources, and create collaborations to better serve those in need.
In September 2009, CFSS was awarded a Compassion Capital Fund one-year $500,000 grant by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to assist faith-based and community organizations through one-on-one technical assistance, seminar training and financial assistance sub-awards that total $225,000. This demonstration program has a special emphasis on serving grassroots nonprofit organizations with annual budgets less than $500,000 that serve low-income individuals residing within ZIP code areas that have been identified as economically distressed neighborhoods.
In addition to core evaluation services outlined above, the CFSS team coordinates all aspects of program and curriculum training by developing comprehensive program policies and procedures, reviewing curricula against logic model and other proven theory to ensure curriculum is likely to provide the outcomes planned in the logic model, conducting site visits as needed to observe program and recommending methods of improvement, providing fiscal management of project-related expenditures and offering ongoing technical assistance in support of program implementation.
In 2009 CFSS was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Wisconsin State Department of Corrections (DOC) to lead the Milwaukee Reentry and Workforce Pipeline Coordination project. This comprehensive, multi-disciplinary effort to integrate reentry efforts in Milwaukee County includes mapping the programs and services provided to ex-offenders who are reentering the community by community and faith-based organizations and organizing a summit meeting of DOC, Dept. of Workforce Development and Workforce Development Boards. In addition, CFSS will assist with facilitating implementation of Milwaukee regionalized strategies to strengthen the workforce pipeline of the targeted offender population and will engage employers and encourage businesses to reassess their role in promoting public safety.
This technical assistance will provide key leadership to and work as part of a Department of Corrections team to implement comprehensive reentry reform that achieves positive reentry results for offenders (stable employment, housing and behavioral health) and the community (safety and productive citizens). DOC’s long-term goals are to build the capacity and collaboration of public/private providers and to reduce duplication of services and gaps in services.
Online Participant Tracking System
CFSS developed an online tracking and reporting system to support program delivery and evaluation that is currently used in 14 federally funded projects. OPTS enables users to quickly and accurately enter participation data and allows staff to monitor compliance for attendance entry and curriculum delivery. OPTS also automatically generates forms required by the federal funder, and provides a central repository of program data to enable evaluation staff to analyze outcomes.