What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

When our team evolved and became the Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD – previously known as Research Services) six years ago, we gathered in a retreat center for team building and began to form our mission, vision, and purpose statement. One of the BIGs (bold, inspirational goals) that came from our meeting was to create a culture of assessment throughout the United Church of Christ.

What exactly does this mean? Well, we envisioned an organization where all settings would have the tools and resources to evaluate the outcomes of our individual and collective work.

The Pell Institute lists some benefits to conducting evaluations:

  • Demonstrates program outcomes to grant providers and other constituents
  • Validates requests for increased funding by providing evidence of effectiveness
  • Identifies and leverages program strengths
  • Identifies and modifies ineffective practices
  • Provides documentation for performance/funding reports
  • Creates a foundation for strategic planning
  • Produces credibility and visibility

The UCC Planning and Evaluation Survey was created to learn about the planning and evaluation tools, strategies, and processes currently used within all settings of the church.  The goal is to compile the responses and create/curate the most helpful resources for effective planning and evaluation for all local churches, associations, conferences, national settings, and other UCC-related organizations.

While collecting stories, observations and interviews are important, they’re only part of the story. TSNE MissionWorks  (formerly Third Sector New England) provides Nonprofit consultation, leadership development, and training evaluations summarized best in a blog post titled Why Evaluation is Important for Your Nonprofit  by Deborah Linnell. Linnell states, “Evaluation will help to create the clarity needed and lay a fact-based foundation for telling your organization’s story. Anecdotal stories serve a purpose, but they do not ‘prove’ the organization’s relevance to the community with the same credibility that evaluation does.”


Now, dream along with us and let your voice be heard! Survey completion deadline is Friday, March 16.

Survey link: https://www.research.net/r/UCCPlanningSurvey

taylorTaylor B. Russell is the Research Specialist for the UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Data. She has served in the national setting of the denomination for 17 years. 


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