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National Community Resource and Economic Development Indicators Team

The National Community Resource and Economic Development (CRED) Indicators Team is a self-directed group of Extension professionals who strive to tell compelling stories at state, local, and national levels about the collective impact of their community and economic development work. Since 2015, this team has hosted webinars to highlight CRED success stories from Extension programs around the nation.


Using the Community Capitals Framework to Measure Program Impacts

The Community Capitals Framework (CCF) has been a widely used educational tool, and it also has enormous potential to guide evaluation of community development work in Extension and beyond. Presenters in this panel will highlight ways they have employed the CCF in documenting community-level impacts of Extension programming, as well as their ideas for using the CCF more broadly to document collective impacts of programming within states and regions.

Abigail Borron, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, University of Georgia
Scott Chazdon, Evaluation and Research Specialist, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota
Abigail Condie, Graduate Research Assistant, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota  
Mary Emery, Professor of Sociology and Rural Studies, South Dakota State University 

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Impact Statement Writing Made Easy

Continuing its webinar series, the Community Resource and Economic Development National Indicators Working Group is offering the session, Impact Statement Writing Made Easy. Extension’s educational and outreach programs affect individuals and communities in a multitude of ways. Communicating the impacts of that work to the public can be challenging for even the most experienced Extension staff, because demonstrating public value extends beyond simply reporting on evaluation results or describing a few key indicators of success. To be effective, impact statements must contain a series of connected elements – from articulating the need, to describing the intervention, to highlighting the effects of that intervention. In essence, effective public value statements clearly describe program logic.

In this webinar, we will present a simple strategy for writing clear, concise, evidence-backed impact statements that represent program logic in an approachable way. This process is based on an appreciative inquiry model in which structured peer-feedback helps colleagues make their work more explicit through actual conversations with a writing partner. We will also discuss the utility of centrally collecting, archiving and quality controlling impact statements so they can form the basis of communications products that highlight state-wide work and emerging themes.  

Christian Schmieder, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension
Joel Drevlow, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension 
Josset Gauley, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension 

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Moving Ripple Effects Mapping Online

Ripple Effects Mapping has become a popular approach for qualitative impact evaluation in Extension and beyond. Even before the pandemic, there were situations where conducting REM sessions online made sense when it was impossible to bring people physically together. While you lose some of the energy of REM when it is virtual (you cannot have a meal together, for example), it can still be a positive experience that generates solid evidence of program impact. In this webinar, some of the early adopters of REM will share their insights about how to conduct REM sessions online.

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The 'But for' Principle: Getting to Your Impact

Extension and other organizations are often asked by stakeholders – including county, state and Federal funders – to document the impacts of their efforts in order to merit continued support. In this case, “impacts” are the changes in conditions that can be attributed to a program. One option to collect these impacts is to use the "but for" attribution principle. This method involves asking informed community members whether the program was a critical factor in producing the resulting impacts. This webinar provides some background on impact evaluation strategies, information about the "but for" principle, and practical tips for collecting evaluation data based on this principle.

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Data Visualization: Decision-Making Tools and Methods for Communities

Extension professionals are faced with a challenge to present complex data in simple, understandable information to decision makers. Most often, this information is visualized in the form of maps, charts, and infographics to understand patterns in communities. This webinar will include a discussion of the data, tools and methods used by three experts to help communities visualize information. The panel discussion will focus on innovative methods to generate, track and communicate information to community and economic development stakeholders. 

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What's Your Program Worth? Evaluation Strategies for Documenting the Dollar Value of Extension Programs

Extension stakeholders, most notably county commissioners, often need to justify their decisions to continue funding Extension and need more than evaluation data on program outcomes.  They want to know the economic benefits of their Extension funding in their communities. This webinar provides two case studies of evaluation efforts to document the return on investment of Extension programming. Rebecca Sero will describe efforts to document the economic impact of all Extension programming in two counties in Washington state. Brigid Tuck, Catie Rasmussen and Scott Chazdon will present their study of return on investment for a leadership program in McLeod County, Minnesota.  Both of these efforts combined quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data on the dollar value of Extension programming. The session is moderated by Sreedhar Upendram, an Assistant Professor in Agricultural Economics at University of Tennessee Extension with expertise in Economic Impact Analysis.

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Evaluating Community Development Impacts Using Qualitative Indicators

Measuring the impact of work community development professionals engage in is critical to ensure its continuation. While many focus on quantitative measures, this webinar will provide successful examples of using qualitative methods to evaluate this work. A pilot evaluation study that used newly developed qualitative indicators will be shared. Additionally, two specific case examples will be provided; one of a community foundation education program evaluation and one of a community health assessment on the Crow Indian Reservation. Discussion will focus on challenges and opportunities in working with organizations outside of Extension, as well as the context for applying qualitative approaches and communicating outcomes across settings.

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Understanding and Evaluating Collective Impact Initiatives 

The Collective Impact Model has the potential for bringing organizations and partners together to address a common set of goals. This webinar will provide an overview of the model -- the contexts in which it may be useful, the strategies for making it successful, and current criticisms of its use.  Evaluation strategies for assessing both the formative and summative aspects of collective impact models will also be discussed. 

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Estimating the Economic Impact of Programs: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

A brief overview of approaches used to estimate program impact. How IMPLAN has been used in Extension will be shared as well as best practices and lessons learned. 

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Developmental Evaluation for Cooperative Extension Community Development Programs

This webinar introduces Michael Q. Patton’s developmental evaluation approach as a potentially appropriate paradigm for Extension community development programs.  Presenters will share how the MFLN uses developmental evaluation and what it might look like in day-to-day evaluation for community development educators.

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Documenting Community Outcomes with Surveys: A How-To on Designing Questions and Collecting Data

One of the easiest ways to get information from community members and program participants is to use a survey. But how do you know if your questions are written correctly? And what's the best way to reach your audience?  Join the National Community & Economic Resource Development Indicators Team as we discuss question design and fielding your survey once it's complete. This webinar will focus on designing clear and concise survey questions and a discussion of best practices to follow when fielding your survey.

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Social Network Analysis for the Unititiated: What Is It and What Is It Good For?

Extension programs have a long history of building relationships toward increasing social capital...and an equally long history of inadequately sharing this news with key stakeholders.  Social Network Analysis (SNA) is one tool that can help tell the story of the effectiveness of relationship building efforts.  SNA is a method that visualizes, as well as quantifies, the depth and breadth of relationships within or among people, groups, or organizations.  It can even be used to measure changes in connectivity over time, in groups that are working together towards the same goals. This webinar will provide an introduction to the theory underlying SNA, the uses of SNA, and the methods, tools, and skills needed to conduct SNA projects.

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The Importance of Collecting Impact Numbers to Promote Community Development Work

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Shoestring Evaluation: New Hampshire's Experience Measuring CRED Impacts with Limited Resources and Expertise

Many Extension organizations struggle to capture the impacts of CRED-related work. Reasons include lack of a formal CRED program to which impacts can be aggregated, disperse programming within CRED, lack of staff capacity to conduct evaluation, and lack of evaluation expertise to draw from (e.g. Evaluation Specialist). This session will highlight how a small CRED program in New Hampshire has been able to develop its evaluation capacity over time in spite of the challenges listed above.  

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Evaluating for Public Value through Impact Stories

Lessons Learned from the Minnesota Most Significant Change Evaluation Project

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