Tracking Your Success
Evaluation: How Do I Get Started?
Updated: 6.1.06 Printable version
It is important to plan campaign tracking as a part of your overall communications planning.
Plan to Evaluate
- As you begin planning your communications activities, discuss evaluation too. Identify realistic outcomes.
- If possible, include those who will be responsible for providing you with data, such as the hotline manager.
- Discuss ideas about measuring the success of your campaign and determine the data that you can realistically track.
- Consider inviting an evaluation expert to join your team to assist in planning.
Determine what you want to measure
- Assess available resources for evaluation and the results you anticipate. For example, changes in the number of calls to the state hotline help you track the number of people who have been prompted by your efforts to get more information about children's health coverage programs and apply for coverage.
- If your purpose is to determine which outreach and communication methods are most effective, you might consider collecting information about how the callers learned about the hotline phone number.
- Counting the number and type of news stories will help determine whether your media outreach has been successful.
- Counting the number of event attendees and applications distributed or filled out can be the easiest data to collect.
Determine how to find available data
- Ask contacts such as the hotline manager what they can provide and within what period of time.
- If you are pitching the media and you know they are planning to run a story, ask the reporter or editor you are working with to send you a copy of the piece when it airs or is published.
- Do an Internet search – it's simple and free. Google News allows you to set up alerts using key words, so you know when an article is published on the subject you are tracking.
- Your local newspapers and television stations will likely post their coverage on their Web sites. If you do not know their Web site addresses, call and ask, use a search engine or go to www.usnpl.com for links to newspapers .
- Ask members of your coalition to monitor the media, including clipping articles from the newspaper and taping news broadcasts.
- You may also consider approaching the department of communications of a local university to determine whether faculty and graduate students would assist you in collecting and analyzing local media coverage free of charge. They may find the effort worth studying.
- If your budget allows, consider using a clipping service (e.g., Burrelle's for print and Video Monitoring Service (VMS) for TV/radio).
Review samples of the data collected in your state
- Actually seeing data that are available will help you set realistic goals.
Begin collecting the data
- Make arrangements with appropriate contact or media monitoring service to send you the data on a regular basis.
- Establish a beginning date, an end date, and the frequency of collection or reporting (e.g., weekly, monthly).
Create a database
- Set up a database and regularly enter the data.