Step 5: Plan the evaluation

Evaluation is the key to ensuring that your program is successful. Setting up a system that lets you monitor the program’s progress and make tweaks as you go will help you get the most out of your program investment.

These resources will help you build an evaluation plan that feels manageable in your practice setting.


Step 5 resources

Community health assessment

A 2004 handbook from the Alameda Country Public Health Department that documents the process of conducting participatory community assessments, especially for partnerships between community groups and public health departments.

A web-based platform to assist hospitals, non-profit community-based organizations, state and local health departments, and other key stakeholders in understanding the needs and assets of their communities.


This toolkit offers comprehensive GIS mapping, analytics, and reporting tools to facilitate the assessment of community health needs and assets. 

A 2010 guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities program with step-by-step instructions for successfully completing the CHANGE tool.


CHANGE can be used to gain a picture of the policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place throughout the community; develop a community action plan for improving policies, systems, and the environment to support healthy lifestyles; and assist with prioritizing community needs and allocating available resources. 

A webpage from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) that provides useful resources and support for organizations conducting needs assessments.


There are a wide range of topics addressed, including: Designing and Disseminating Your Surveys, Data Sources, and Indicators, Compiling the Data, and Presenting the Data.

A website from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services with resources to help plan, deliver and evaluate health programs in a community.

A framework developed by the National Association of County and City Health Officials, MAPP is a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health.


MAPP is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems through community health assessment activities.

A guide developed by Clear Impact on how to implement results-based accountability or outcomes-based accountability in community, city, state, or national settings.

Program evaluation

A website that provides information and resources on three main areas of the evaluation process: Evaluation practice, evaluation capacity strengthening, and research and development in evaluation.

A website for the Evaluation Unit in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s PPEO, which delivers tools, technical assistance, and resources to enhance evaluation efforts.


Resources include:

  • Materials and resources based on the CDC Evaluation Framework
  • Introduction to program evaluation for public health programs: A self-study guide
  • Other step-by-step evaluation manuals
  • Manuals/assistance with specific evaluation steps—logic models
  • Manuals/assistance with specific evaluation steps—data collection methods and sources
  • Manuals/assistance with evaluation of specific types of programs or interventions
  • Websites offering comprehensive evaluation resources and assistance
  • Key professional associations
  • Key journals

A free online resource, continually updated since 1994 by the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, with information on building healthy communities, including more than 7,000 pages of essential skills and practical guidance for creating change and improvement.


For a site overview, click the purple Table of Contents tab. Evaluation is Part J, which covers:

  • Developing a plan for evaluation
  • Methods for evaluation
  • Using evaluation to understand and improve your program

A collection of briefs published by James Bell Associates that provide information and resources on program evaluation, including process, outcome, and fidelity evaluation.


These short and easy-to-read briefs discuss different aspects of evaluation, including locating and hiring an evaluator, developing a logic model, outcome and process evaluation, strategies for improving the quality of your evaluation, and common evaluation myths and misconceptions.

A guide developed by SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREBPP) that provides general guidance to the non-researcher on how to plan, conduct, and manage a successful evaluation.

A searchable online resource database from the Innovation Network with free tools and resources that build nonprofits' ability to plan and evaluate their own programs. 


Tools include:

  • A logic model builder (a step-by-step guide for articulating and connecting organizational or program goals, resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes)
  • An evaluation plan builder (transfers key data from the logic model builder and moves from goal-setting to identification of evaluation questions, indicators, and data collection strategies for evaluating program outcomes and implementation)
  • A searchable resource database with reports, articles, tip sheets, etc., on evaluation and capacity building

A 2006 guide with information on how to implement results-based accountability or outcomes-based accountability.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Research on Women and Gender and the Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT) organization, this guide walks through each step of the participatory evaluation process.

A handbook that provides a framework for thinking about evaluation as a relevant and useful program tool.


The focus of this handbook is project-level evaluation. Topics include major issues to consider in planning an evaluation, types of project-level evaluation (context, implementation, and outcome), developing evaluation questions, involving stakeholders, and use of logic models, among other issues. It was written primarily for project directors who have direct responsibility for ongoing program evaluation.

A guide to provide practical assistance to nonprofits engaged in the Logic Model Development process, including helping users to develop logic models to plan programs, to communicate effectively with stakeholders, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of program activities by creating an outcome-oriented evaluation.