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The Boys and Girls Club of Central Indiana, (Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis) is an organization that reaches a wide variety of stakeholders. It engages them in several different ways, which are uniquely tailored to the needs of each group of stakeholders. The three main stakeholder groups for this organization include the clients of the organization, potential volunteers, and potential donors. By connecting resources, activities, outputs and outcomes, the organization connects and communicates with the different stakeholder groups and encourages them to make decisions that are amenable to the organization.
The direct clients of the program are, as the name would imply, the boys and girls of Indianapolis. Specifically, clients include children from at-risk and lower socioeconomic status groups who may have difficulty affording food, much less finding safe places to hang out, do homework, and ostensibly, get an education so that they have more resources than their parents did and so that they become engaged community leaders and participants in democracy. The organization is funded through private donations and corporate partnerships, which means that it must nurture significant relationships with potential donors. (Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis) Therefore, the prioritization of the stakeholders for the formal communications of the organization tends to be donors first and clients second. This is because the choice to attend the club is largely made for people on behalf of the clients, since these children cannot make legal decisions for themselves, and they are young enough that a website will not be very persuasive for them.
Clients: Children Second Children are not the main decision-makers here, but the pictures of happy kids having fun could persuade a reluctant child to be excited about the club.
Clients: Parents (Decision-Makers Third Secondarily, the organization communicates to parents who may want to choose to send their children to the clubs. By introducing the clubs as places where kids can be safe, have fun and achieve academic success, the organization communicates its values to others and generates a new group of stakeholder interest
Donors First The organization’s official communications are designed to appeal to potential donors and to make them feel good about the choice to donate. By emphasizing long-term outcomes, as well as the non-profit status of the organization, the organization increases this group and its interest in supporting it.
Volunteers or potential employees Fourth The organization emphasizes its ethics and the positive difference it makes, which appeals to those who want to work or volunteer there and thus become first-order stakeholders.
Given this stakeholder prioritization, it is clear that an underlying logic informs the ways that this organization communicates with stakeholders. The logic model, below, outlines some of the resources, activities, outputs and outcomes of the organization and what it strives to do and to achieve.
The original assignment indicated that donors are first priority in terms of evaluation, while children (as clients of the program ) are fourth in priority. Based on a more specified evaluation design, this has all but been reversed, with donors still as first priority but children (as the clients) coming as the second priority for evaluating the program in the Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis. With this in mind, the table above has been updated to reflect that donors have first priority in evaluation, followed by children, followed by parents (as clients of the program), and ending with volunteers or potential employees of the program. This change in the prioritization stems from one important fact: a stakeholder-focused approach for program evaluation should first and foremost focus on those that have the most stake in a given program. As one source states, “The people who need solutions are the most interested in looking at the problems and are the most able to solve them” (FERA, 2015, 1). In other words, those who have the most to gain or else lose from the Boys and Girls Club in Indianapolis are the best sources of information for how the program should be evaluated and, eventually, improved.
With this underlying assumption in mind, the evaluation design will focus on the following question: what value has the Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis brought to the community so far, and how can it bring more value to the same community into the future? This specific question will help evaluators determine what the program has done well in the past and what it can do better in the future. Better yet, this evaluation will be from the perspective of the four specific stakeholders in the program: donors, children, parents of participants, and current and potential volunteers and employees (in this priority). The evaluation design (which begins with the interview questions outlined below) will gather the personal opinions of these stakeholders in order to evaluate the program as a whole. More specifically, engaging the various stakeholders (i.e. the perspective of children participants and the perspective of adult donors) will provide evaluators with a more holistic picture of the program. For instance, the children will be able to provide specific insight into how the programs work, what they enjoy, and what they do not. In turn, donors will be able to provide insight into the effectiveness of the programs in more financial terms, such as return on investment and opportunity cost for other available programs. This approach has a secondary benefit, as well: it will allow stakeholders to “establish sense of ownership in the evaluation process and in the results, increasing the likelihood that the results will be used” (FERA, 2015, 1). This is why the evaluation design will chose to focus on interviews by way of collection, as opposed to observation or internal documents. The data, then, will be the survey and interview responses of stakeholders. While the form this data will take is not yet known (whether positive or negative), it will be used to answer the evaluation question by painting a very personal picture of the stakeholder perspective of the Boys and Girls program.
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