Evaluating Change in Nonprofit Organizations

  • Kunle AkingbolaEmail author
  • Sean Edmund Rogers
  • Alina Baluch


A nonprofit that undertakes the task of change is making a serious commitment to its improvement, development, and perhaps even longevity and survival. For this reason, it is prudent for organization leaders to methodically assess the efficacy of change efforts and determine the extent to which they have enabled the achievement of organizational goals. This process—evaluation—asks whether a change effort worked the way it was intended to work, and whether it had the intended effect. It also asks how and why things turned out the way they did. In this chapter, we begin with a brief coverage of the history and evolution of evaluation, the purposes of evaluation, who does evaluation, and the various kinds of evaluation that can be conducted. Then we present some common as well as contemporary evaluation approaches, models, and taxonomies, including the familiar and classic Kirkpatrick Four-Level Evaluation Model. Finally, we discuss the nuts and bolts of conducting high-quality evaluation, including designing evaluation, collecting evaluation data, analyzing evaluation data, communicating evaluation results to relevant stakeholders, and evaluating the evaluation process.


  1. Allen, N. J., & Meyer, J. P. (1990). The Measurement and Antecedents of Affective, Continuance and Normative Commitment to the Organization. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 63(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Astramovich, R. L. (2011). Needs Assessment: A Key Evaluation Tool for Professional Counselors. Retrieved September 22, 2018 from
  3. Chen, H. T. (2015). Practical Program Evaluation: Theory-Driven Evaluation and the Integrated Evaluation Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Frye, A. W., & Hemmer, P. A. (2012). Program Evaluation Models and Related Theories: AMEE Guide No. 67. Medical Teacher, 34(5): e288–e299.Google Scholar
  5. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth Generation Evaluation. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1959a). Techniques for Evaluating Programs. Journal of American Society of Training Directors, 13(11), 3–9.Google Scholar
  7. Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1959b). Techniques for Evaluating Programs—Part 2: Learning. Journal of American Society of Training Directors, 13(12), 21–26.Google Scholar
  8. Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1960a). Techniques for Evaluating Programs—Part 3: Behavior. Journal of American Society of Training Directors, 14(1), 13–18.Google Scholar
  9. Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1960b). Techniques for Evaluating Programs—Part 3: Results. Journal of American Society of Training Directors, 14(1), 28–32.Google Scholar
  10. Larson, R. C., & Berliner, L. (1983). On Evaluating Evaluations. Policy Sciences, 16(2), 147–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McKay, P. F., & Avery, D. R. (2015). Diversity Climate in Organizations: Current Wisdom and Domains of Uncertainty. In M. R. Buckley, A. R. Wheeler, & J. R. B. Halbesleben (Eds.), Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Volume 33 (pp. 191–233). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  12. McKay, P. F., Avery, D. R., Tonidandel, S., Morris, M. A., Hernandez, M., & Hebl, M. R. (2007). Racial Differences in Employee Retention: Are Diversity Climate Perceptions the Key? Personnel Psychology, 60(1), 35–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Nathan, B. R., Mohrman, A. M., Jr., & Milliman, J. (1991). Interpersonal Relations as a Context for the Effects of Appraisal Interviews on Performance and Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study. Academy of Management Journal, 34(2), 352–369.Google Scholar
  14. Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2014). Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  15. Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-Focused Evaluation: The New Century Text. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Preskill, H., & Torres, R. T. (1999). Evaluative Inquiry for Learning in Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Qualitative Research Guidelines Project. Retrieved October 1, 2018 from
  18. Rossi, P. H., Freeman, H. E., & Lipsey, M. W. (1999). Evaluation: A Systematic Approach (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Russ-Eft, D., & Preskill, H. (2001). Evaluation in Organizations: A Systematic Approach to Enhancing Learning, Performance, and Change. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.Google Scholar
  20. Scriven, M. (1991). Evaluation Thesaurus (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Taylor, M. S., Tracy, K. B., Renard, M. K., Harrison, J. K., & Carroll, S. J. (1995). Due Process in Performance Appraisal: A Quasi-Experiment in Procedural Justice. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 495–523.Google Scholar
  22. Worthen, B. R., Sanders, J. R., & Fitzpatrick, J. L. (1997). Program Evaluation (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kunle Akingbola
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sean Edmund Rogers
    • 2
  • Alina Baluch
    • 3
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityOrilliaCanada
  2. 2.University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  3. 3.University of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

Personalised recommendations