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Buy levaquin, The March 2010 meeting of Public Policy Communicators NYC on Tuesday at the Ford Foundation had a very good turnout even though we had the unfortunate responsibility of letting all of our RSVPs know just the day before that our discussion leader on the topic of “Measuring Communications Effectiveness,” could not join us because of a last-minute unforeseen personal circumstance. We had wonderful networking portion of the meeting, as always, and I presented the core of Edith Asibey’s materials and asked the group to bring to the table their own experiences and questions about evaluating communications efforts.
Before going over the nine steps to evaluating communications programs outlined in Asibey’s “Are We There Yet. Levaquin 5, A Communications Evaluation Guide,” I noted my own general take-aways, having read the report several times and created a presentation based on it:
- Communications leaders should be thinking about and planning evaluation BEFORE starting an initiative, not part way through or at the end.
- The point of evaluation is not to simply pass judgment on what happened, but to gather information as you go so you can adjust and improve, levaquin 500 mg price.
- While Asibey’s report touches on mechanisms to monitor: print, television, radio, websites, blogs, news aggregation sites, social media (especially Facebook, YouTube & Twitter), the real focus and hard work of evaluation planning is gaining clarity on what audiences you want to reach and figuring out how your communications efforts are actually effecting those target audiences, buy levaquin.
Asibey makes clear that your starting point for evaluation should be the communications plan for your organization or for the specific communications initiative that you want to evaluate. So, I asked for a show of hands among the participants how many had written communication plans in place. Very few of these engaged communications professionals – only about four or five raised their hands – have communications plans in place. I’m thinking that “Why & How to Develop a Communications Plan” might be a good topic for a future PPC meeting.
I also made Asibey’s arguments for building strong evaluation into communications plans:
- Evaluation improves the effectiveness of your communications
- Evaluation can help you effectively engage your audience
- Situations change - strategies and tactics may need to change as well
- Evaluation helps you allocate resources wisely
Here are the nine steps of planning an evaluation that we went over:
1. Determine what you will evaluate.
Evaluation requires financial and human resources, Levaquin 5 mg, so evaluating your entire communications program may not be possible or even desirable. Consider focusing on one campaign or one strategic communications effort.
Be clear if you planning to evaluate Strategic Initiatives or Tactical Efforts Buy levaquin, . Strategic initiatives include things like a communications initiative for behavior change (like encouraging communities to recycle); a communications initiative for policy change (like securing policymakers’ support for safer landfills); an organizational repositioning effort (like when a growing organization that had focused only on reducing water pollution wants to be known for working toward reducing air pollution as well); or a branding awareness effort (like earning the reputation of being the premier global warming think tank). Tactical efforts you might want to evaluate might include message dissemination (how well your messages are spread by the media or adopted by key audiences); media relations (frequency and quality of interactions with journalists, coverage in print and television, etc.); quality of direct communications with key constituencies (such as what individual donors or members really think of your organization); or the reach of print, video online and new media communications, levaquin 750 mg sinus infection.
2. Define your goal
Communications goals should be long-term (what you want to ACHIEVE over at 5-10 year period through communications) and fall roughly into one of two categories: Policy goals or behavior goals. In communicating with government officials and other influencers of public policy, your goals could be to build awareness, Levaquin 750 mg lawsuit, increase numbers of champions/supporters, build constituencies, increase public will for policy change, or the ultimate policy change itself. Obviously, realistic timeframes and goals are highly related. In trying to change public behavior or a portion of the public’s behavior, you may be attempting to raise awareness, levaquin 500 mg iv, increase salience, change attitudes/beliefs, develop a sense of self-efficacy on the issue, change social norms on the issue, Levaquin 500 mg sinus infection, change behavioral intentions or make the ultimate change in behavior. Again, being realistic about where your audience is at and your timeline is key in being clear about your goals for a given campaign.
3, buy levaquin. State your objectives
Objectives are essentially interim results along the way to your goal. There should be objectives all along the way – where you want your audience to be along the continuum of change at, say, year one, year three, what is levaquin 500 mg prescribed for, year seven and year ten of your long-term communications plan. Objectives should be very specific and Edith uses the very appropriate acronym S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused and Time-specific. Levaquin 150 mg, For example, if you have a long-term goal that consumers in costal areas will demand and purchase sustainable seafood on a regular basis, intermediate objectives might be that (1) by the end of year one, there will be a 50% increase in the presence of messages about sustainable seafood choices in media outlets in costal states and (2) by the end of year two, there will be double the number of advocates for sustainable seafood choices in costal areas.
4, what is levaquin 750 mg used for. Identify your audience.
Here I want to directly quote Edith’s report: “Organizations often measure what’s easy to count, such as how many publications they have sent out or how many people have visited their website. Buy levaquin, However, most communications are ultimately trying to move an audience; therefore getting feedback from the right source is crucial.” Again, specificity is very important. It is not enough to say you want to reach “policymakers” or “young people.” Narrow your targets. For example, you may want to reach senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or 25-to-35-year-old Hispanic professional women living in the tri-state area. Really being crystal clear about your targets can go a long way toward prioritizing your communications plan as well as making the evaluation of it more focused.
5. Levaquin 750 mg price, Establish your baseline.
You can’t evaluate how successful your communications are if you don’t know where the target audience started out in their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, etc. Some of the areas of information you’ll want to collect to establish a baseline include: Audience knowledge of and attitudes toward your organization and/or issue; common misconceptions and misinformation about your issue; audience values that directly affect your issue and/or your communications efforts; what are the organizations, issues or messages that could compete with you for audience and media attention; how has your issue been presented or framed in the past by the media; and who are the ‘influentials’ who support or oppose your issue.
6, levaquin 500 mg and alcohol. Clarify your evaluation inquiry areas
With clear thinking on your goals, objectives and audience – and where that audience is at now – it is time to formulate the questions that will guide the evaluation process. You’ll be wanting to ask different sorts of questions along the way. In the early stages of the communications initiative you’ll want to be asking questions that get at things like “Do the messages we’ve created say what we think they do, buy levaquin. Do they resonate with the target audience? Are they even breaking through all the noise?” At the midpoint of your initiative, you’ll want to ask questions along the lines of “Is the audience gaining the information that I intended them to have. Has the coverage of the issue begun to change. Is my targeting on track. Levaquin 500mg uses, What sort of reaction is the audience having to the messages?” And in the advanced stages of the initiative, you’ll want to pursue questions like “Have my messages become part of the public discourse. Buy levaquin, Are there observable policy results. Do I have reliable data that can help me make the case for continued support for my activities. Does my data indicate that I need to change my communications strategy or tactics?”
7. Draft your measurements
Perhaps it won’t surprise you to hear me say that specificity is important here! Write out the milestones you expect to see along the way for each of your objectives. Each objective should have three or more milestones associated with it that can be measured. Milestones should: represent meaningful signs of progress; be stated as results; be realistically measurable; can be associated with an actual deadline by which they will occur; and help actually answer your evaluation questions. A good example of a milestone that has these qualities is: “A 50% increase in the visibility of the term ‘undocumented immigrant’ instead of ‘illegal immigrant’ in the media within six months.”
8, buy levaquin without prescription. Select your evaluation techniques
At this point in the conversation it became exceedingly clear why common communications “measures of effectiveness” like media hits and website visits don’t necessarily mean a whole lot when it comes to understanding how well your communications are actually effecting target audiences, buy levaquin.
Evaluation techniques depend on the information you want to assess and budget. It could be as simple as counting votes in Congress or it could be as complex a combined longitudinal survey research and public engagement project. Some of the primary evaluation techniques include: Interviews with select individuals who represent the target audience; focus groups, surveys (both traditional phone or in-person and on-line); direct observation of the target audience; quantitative data collection; quantitative data analysis and content analysis.
9. Estimate your budget.
The general rule of thumb in the field is to devote five to ten percent of the communications budget to efforts to understanding just how well you’re doing. So for example, Levaquin 50 mg, if you are developing a 10-year, $10 million campaign to gain public and legislative support for locally grown food instead of gigantic agribusiness-produced products, it would not be unreasonable or unwise to devote $500K of the budget to understanding the public’s current thinking, how it and legislators progress over the course of time and, in the end, just how successful you’ve been in changing behavior during the 10-year period. Costs associated with evaluation might include external consultants and the costs of the selected evaluation techniques, levaquin 250 mg, but also staff time, travel and incidentals and the costs of editing, designing, producing and disseminating information about the findings. Levaquin 150 mg, This final point implies also that we should be sharing what we learn with the field rather than holding the information only for the organization. Buy levaquin, At this point in the meeting, we took a step back from the core concepts presented in “Are We There Yet?” and talked about the real-world implications. One participant said that all this was “more procedure than substance.” Others in the group disagreed, saying that you need to go through this process of gaining clarity in order to gather the right information that is really meaningful.
Another participant said that, for many nonprofits, the measure of success is simple: the amount of donations coming into the organization. While many in the room acknowledged that donations are an important measure and there is no escaping the reality that it is measure that many organizations use the most, very strong voices advocated for measures that really get at what effect the organization is having on achieving its mission – how it is actually impacting audiences. One participant noted that “measuring organizational effectiveness is also an important way to attract and keep donors.”
The group talked for some time about applying this framework in the real world of nonprofit and foundation communications. Not surprisingly, staff time and dollars devoted to evaluation were the biggest areas of concern, levaquin 50 mg.
Following that portion of the conversation, I presented a hypothetical case of a long-term, multi-million-dollar initiative to change the public’s perception of a health and fitness issue. I walked the group through the 9 Steps for that example to provide more context for how an evaluation might play out in the real world. The example further made the case for clarifying goals and specifying target audiences, but further demonstrated that evaluation has both costs and programmatic benefits. Levaquin 750 mg dosage, After the in-depth example, we were approaching the end of the topic discussion time. The group talked a bit more about examples from their own experiences and the areas where they wanted to learn more on practical methods of data collection.
At the outset of the session, it was our intention (given the intended presenter’s availability) to have this day be an “Evaluation 101” to establish an understanding of the basics and then have Edith Asibey come back for the next session to work closely with folks advising those who wanted to work through the evaluation planning worksheet contained in “Are We There Yet?” It was not clear to me at the end of the session if another session on evaluation was warranted or desired. So, I said that I would raise the question to the larger group of nonprofit and foundation folks in our orbit to see what people are interested in exploring at the next PPC-NYC meeting…
Would you like to do another session on “Measuring Effectiveness” that goes more deeply into the mechanics of data collection and assessment, buy levaquin.
Would you like to move on to one of the other topics requested previously by PPC-NYC members, such as…
- Communicating through the blogosphere – getting your message out/making the most of other organizations’ blogs
- What does “branding” really mean for a nonprofit/foundation and how do you do it to maximize your message, buy cheap levofloxacin.
- What is the best way to integrate your online efforts so that the work flow and content for website, e-newsletters and social media are seamless but not repetitive.
- NEW: Why and how to develop a communications plan that improves your work.
Please email me and tell me what you think.
On a side note, we live-tweeted the session for the first time yesterday from our official Twitter account: @PPCNYC. It worked out really well. Several people were following along from remote locations and re-tweeting key points from the presentation as well as points made by participants. Thanks again to all the great thinkers who came. I look forward to hearing what you want to explore next.
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