After two years of working with NEH grantees to document the impact of their programs, it is a delight to introduce one product of this effort—Documenting the Impact of Your Humanities Program: A Toolkit.
Since 2018, we’ve worked with twenty-nine NEH funded programs to tell the story of their impact through surveys. In partnership with project directors, we’ve designed and implemented pre- and post-program surveys that take into account the programs’ immediate goals and their broader social impacts, including impacts on trust, empathy, and community connection, and appreciation for and pride in local culture and heritage.
These surveys have provided us with compelling insights into why communities value humanities programs. They have also provided us and our partners with robust quantitative and qualitative data that speaks to the humanities’ broad-ranging impacts and can be used to engage policymakers, funders, leadership, and the public.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we know that many in the humanities community are anticipating budget challenges in the months to come. Our hope is that this toolkit will act as a resource for humanities organizations and practitioners by helping them document the impact of their work, demonstrating what we already know to be true: that the humanities are essential to strong communities. Inside you will find
- An introduction to impact-driven surveys;
- Information about why to survey, how to construct a survey, and how to administer a survey; and
- Advice for interpreting and using your data.
Sample survey questions, grouped according to impact, are meant to help you build surveys that document your program’s strengths. In addition to using these questions as they are presented, you can adapt many of them for pre- and post-program surveys, making your evaluations even stronger. These questions have been tested—we’ve used them across many programs and found them successful.
A suite of adaptable surveys can be found on NHAlliance.org. Because we know that many of you are turning your attention toward producing humanities programs that address the pandemic, we are currently developing a survey aimed at documenting programs of this nature—stay tuned for its publication in the next few weeks.
We hope that you find this toolkit useful and that you will share with us how you use it. We want to hear from you! If you have questions or need advice, please contact Emily McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thumbnail image: Photo courtesy of the Clemente Course.
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