Communications evaluation is about thinking in terms of what success looks like and finding creative ways to tell that story in a meaningful way. Contrary to what many communications consulting companies would have you think, evaluation doesn’t have to include expensive, complicated measurement tools.
While you’ll want to explore the full range of options (some of them surprisingly cost-effective), keep in mind that many measurement tools (e.g., web analytics software, membership tracking or employee surveys) probably already exist in your organization.
So draw on these existing tools—but keep in mind that they may need to be adjusted to be useful for your purposes:
- Web analytics, for example, should be adapted to provide the specific information you’re interested in: rather than simply tracking gross hits, you may need to track fluctuations in traffic, where visitors are coming from, or downloads of a particular online resource.
- A scheduled, pre-existing survey could include a few additional questions.
- A staff focus group could explore levels of satisfaction with employee communications tools.
Keep in mind that evaluation isn’t necessarily a high-tech, high-cost affair. Often it’s a matter of being creative in re-purposing tools you already have, and then using them effectively to help draw meaningful, actionable conclusions.