So you want
to write a good
Success Story
July 8, 2011
[email protected]
Sorrel Brown
Willy Klein
Program Evaluation
Communications Spec
ANR Extension
How is your program
Making a Difference?
The story to tell.
Not what you do.
What happens because of what
you do.
This webinar will increase your
ability to …
• Determine if a story is worth telling
• Recognize necessary elements
• Use verbs that describe outcomes
• Estimate public value
The 3 Rs
• Relevance
• Response
• Results
The 3 Rs …
Plus
• Public Value
– How the public benefits
– How changed conditions make a
larger difference
A good story shows why it’s
worth telling
Situation: Hog and dairy prices
plummeted substantially in 2008 and
2009. The price rise of grain increased
costs of production, especially for
fertilizer and land.
From Situation to Results
Because Extension conducted workshops
on the Farm Financial Planning
Program, farmers acquired the
knowledge and skills to evaluate the
impact of alternative farm plans on their
farm business.
Okay, but…
Better, but…
Farmers are better able to evaluate the
impact of alternative farm plans on their
farm business using knowledge and
skills gained through using the
Extension Farm Financial Planning
Program.
Survey results show that …
Much stronger …
Farmers who attended the X workshop
are making better decisions regarding
the risk of alternative farm plans by
evaluating their impact on the farm
business through the knowledge and
skills gained from the Extension Farm
Financial Planning Program.
Survey results show that …
Parts of a Success Story
•
•
•
•
•
Title that catches attention
Changes that occurred
Relevance
Results
Public value (if possible)
Make the Title work for you
Farm Financial Planning Program
Better Economic Decisions with the Farm
Financial Planning Program
Increased Dairy Efficiency with the Farm
Financial Planning Program
Show a Meaningful Change
• Measurable objectives
• Target audience
• Evaluation results
Active Verbs
• Signify change or comparison
• Measurable
– Increase … Strengthen … Adopt
… Expand … Reduce … Decrease
… Improve
Descriptive Verbs
• Ok for Outputs
– Conduct … Carry out … Establish
… Present … Provide … Educate
… Inform … Produce … Develop
… Create … Design … Train
• Not for Outcomes
Outcome Example
• Developed a field reference that
provides descriptions and images of
the more common weeds in Iowa.
What you did, not what changed or
who benefited and how.
Outcome - Better
• Improved corn and sb producers’
ability to recognize common weeds
in Iowa using a field reference that
provides descriptions & images and
can be easily carried into the field.
Outcome – Even Better
• Increased corn and sb producers’
profitability through better decisions for
weed management. Participants in X
program are now able to recognize
common weeds in Iowa using a field
reference that provides descriptions &
images and can be easily carried into
the field.
Broader Implications
• By making better decisions about
investing in production inputs regarding
common weeds using the Extension
field guide, corn and sb producers in
Iowa are more likely to limit their
chemical applications in the
environment.
So what? = Relevance Factor
• Priorities
• Needs
• Investment
• Environment
• Problem-focused
• Stakeholders
Outcomes – Good, but…
• Survey results revealed that as a
consequence of the education
participants received at X Extension
meetings, they took the following
actions to increase their profitability:
• One family now checks the market daily
for pricing opportunities. So what?
• One producer had a basis contract on
45,000 bu of corn for the 1st time. So
what?
• One producer noted a gap in both corn
& sb and purchased a put option
contract to take advantage of the
opportunity for the 1st time. So what?
• MG across Iowa embraced the online
hours reporting system. So what?
Better, but not quite there…
• X MGs surveyed in 2010 say they will
use the new online reporting system to
record hours so that … (what’s the real
benefit?)
Much Better
• Summaries provided by the new
MG online reporting system show
[list benefits important to the
public].
Using your Success Story
• ANR team reports
• Federal reports
• Regional stakeholder reports
• Various Extension communications
• To create a collective impact story
Outcomes
CONDITIONS
LEARNING
ACTIONS
PUBLIC VALUE
Awareness created
Behavior changed
Improved conditions for public
Knowledge gained
Decisions made
Problems identified
New practices
implemented
New standard or benchmark for:
·enterprise
·environment
·society
·sustainability
·quality of life
Attitudes shifted
Recommendations
adopted
Positive economic effect
Incentives created
Profitability increased
Revitalized community
Skills learned
Outcome Indicators for
Condition Changes
• Cumulative across various
activities within a program that
lead to changes for a broader
audience
NIFA Comments on
ISUE 2010 Annual Report
• Actions taken to seek stakeholder input that
encourages their participation
• Method used to identify groups and
individuals
• Method used for collecting stakeholder input
• A statement of how collected input will be
considered
NIFA Comments on
ISUE 2010 Annual Report
• Significant effort went into documenting all
the important activities that are supported by
the funding.
• Represents the high quality of information
generated, organized and communicated to a
wide variety of interested people.
Public Value –
Changed Conditions
Can Extension claim
credit?
Public Value
•
•
•
•
Narrows an information gap
One person’s participation benefits many
Generates engagement in public issues
The thread that links your program to a
bigger picture
• Broader outcomes because of
Extension education
Influence …
– Contribute ...
– Are a factor in ...
– Add to …
– Play a part in …
– Promote …
–
NIFA
Priorities
Extension
Priorities
Your
Program
Outputs
Success
Story
• Public
Value
Success
Story
• Public
Value
Outcomes – Public Value?
• Animal welfare has improved to the point
where sows now remain in the breeding herd
longer.
So what that sows remain in the breeding herd
longer?
• Don’t assume the public knows anything about
your discipline.
• Describe benefits from the public’s perspective.
Outcome
Survey results (n=250) showed Internet links
were used by 98% of participants, 74%
shared what they learned, information was
used to make decisions by almost all,
increased profits/acre from this information
was noted by most respondents, and Iowa
acres impacted were in the tens of
thousands.
What’s the Public Value in this story?
Public Value Statement –
Example
Extension’s program on X contributed to
disseminating information about Y that
impacted tens of thousands of Iowa acres.
Information provided by Extension was used to
make decisions by almost all participants and
increased their profits/acre, thereby
stimulating the local economy.
Better farming decisions helps producers stay
economically viable, resulting in a more vital
rural community.
Results that affect Conditions –
Example
Iowa farmers increased production
efficiencies to lessen negative
environmental impact.
• Track specific production efficiencies
in target audience over time to show
a condition change.
Results that affect Conditions –
Example
• Increased incomes for producers
have a ripple effect on their local
community. Using Integrated Pest
Management recommendations by
Extension reduces the impact of
chemical products on the local
environment.
Parts of a Success Story
•
•
•
•
•
Title that catches attention
Changes that occurred
Relevance
Results
Public value (if possible)
How confident are you to …
• Determine if a story is worth telling?
• Recognize verbs that describe outcomes?
• Better understand how to gauge public value?
• Show relevance to a public issue?
Sorrel Brown
Willy Klein
Program Evaluation
ANR Extension
Communication
Specialist
515 294-8802
515 294-0662
[email protected]
[email protected]
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