A tool to aid the monitoring and improvement of programs

What is it?

PerformWell is designed to assist practitioners in not-for-profit organisations to monitor and improve the performance of the programs they deliver. The website provides relevant tools and knowledge to facilitate this and is a collaboration between three founding partners: The Urban Institute, Child Trends (both not-for-profit organisations) and Social Solutions

Is it right for me?

The resource takes a three-pronged approach, dealing firstly with the design of a potential programme and latterly with the evaluation of it. The first section is useful if you don’t have a clear idea of what you need; here, you can browse existing surveys or assessments to get a sense of what would work for your context. The measures listed are described clearly and often have useful links to the development papers. They are also divided into categories; the Child & Youth Development section is especially relevant.   

If you have a relatively clear idea of what you will measure then you can refine your outcomes from the ‘Identify Outcomes’ section. This enables you to choose from a number of umbrella terms or ‘outcome areas’ that can be broken down into the specific changes to be targeted. Outcomes have been organised into seven areas, encompassing education and cognitive development; employment, housing and self-sufficiency; health and safety; psychological and emotional development; relationships; social and behavioural development; and civic engagement and community involvement. Although not immediately apparent, the majority of these outcomes target young people specifically, making this a very useful section for those about to start running programmes. Each outcome has a description and a definition, with a link to other useful resources. Once you have defined your outcome, you can select an appropriate measurement instrument.

Finally, if you are currently delivering or have previously delivered your programme and want to assess it to ensure that it is achieving its goals, then you can use the ‘Improving Service Delivery’ tool that helps provide strategies for enhancing services. This is separated into two sections; Education & Training and Child & Youth Development, both of which would be extremely applicable to practitioners working with young people. Here, you will find a generic description of a particular type of programme (such as parenting education), a list of questions that the programme should address, and links to suitable surveys and assessments that have been suggested for measuring how well your programme has been implemented. 

In addition, there are a number of free archived webinars relating to performance management and outcome measurement. The website also incorporates a 5-star rating system for instruments although this is underutilised as most of the measures listed have not been reviewed.

This resource has a professional, corporate feel to it, and is easy to use.

It would suit a range of needs and would work for users in differing stages of project delivery, from those who are just beginning to those who are looking to monitor, appraise and advance ongoing projects.

It is aimed at not-for-profit organisations and has sufficient specific resources to be recommended for organisations working with young people.