Evaluation at Belfast Community Circus School
For our last Fourth Wall Session, we met with Jenna hall from Belfast Community Circus School to learn more about their evaluation process, how they do it, why they do it and how you can get inspired from their experience to create your evaluation plan in your own organisation.
Watch our video or read our summary below:
Belfast Community Circus School knew their work had an impact on their participants and communities, that they could justify with participation rate and numbers of audience members returning, but they couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was about them that made people satisfied. With their new evaluation plan, they wanted to find out the full extent of their impact on their audiences and understand why people were coming back.
Based on their audiences’ feedback and information funders require from the organisation, they identified 3 outcomes they wanted to achieve with their programme:
- Try, fail and grow: how their work helped participants to be persistent and develop their self-esteem.
- Safety and trust: how their work supported participants in building relationships with boundaries and respect.
- Mind, body and soul: how their work answered each child’s specific needs and respected their own development.
To measure these 3 outcomes, they created 3 tools: the goosebump moments, the mood-o-meter and the energy-o-meter. These are short surveys their trainers and class facilitators use at the beginning and at the end of each class for each participant. This way, they can recognise the positive impact they have on children as it happens in front of their eyes. Additionally, they also use end-of-term surveys with parents and participants.
Jenna's tips to draw your own evaluation plan
- Thrive's 5 steps of audience development are a great place to start. (Read our 5 blogs to find out more: The real steps to developing your audience, Getting to know your audiences: data isn't scary, The perks of being clumsy & how to embrace change, Audiences in need of TLC: A talk about relationships and loyalty, (Good) Evaluation is not a chore)
- Step away from vague and big statements like "our work change lives" and be more precise in the language you use. Specific indicators are better for measuring your real impact.