Evaluation of Community Engagement Activities

A couple of women looking at a paper.

The purpose of evaluating community engagement activities is to determine if the process of developing, implementing, and monitoring the public health work is participatory in nature. It helps assess how community members and partners were involved throughout the entire process [HHS 2011].

Evaluating community engagement involves collecting and analyzing information about
  • How community members’, state, territorial, local, and tribal (STLT) partners’, and stakeholders’ input has been solicited and responded to,
  • What kind of learning has occurred, and
  • Responses to and satisfaction with community engagement activities.

Learnings from evaluations can be used to improve future community engagement activities.

During the early phases of community engagement planning, consider how you will establish baseline data, data sources, and accurate data collection. The data will reflect community members’ and STLT partners’ responses to and satisfaction with your community engagement. Explore if there are existing community satisfaction or customer satisfaction surveys available to use.

When relevant, you should evaluate community engagement activities as part of a larger evaluation to assess the public health work being completed.

Keep in Mind

Information collection by ATSDR employees is subject to Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) restrictions. Consider how you will appropriately get feedback about your community engagement. You may consider using existing community satisfaction survey instruments that have received PRA permissions.

Where to Start
  • Investigate how findings from previous community engagement evaluations apply to the community and your public health work.
  • Collaborate with evaluation experts to determine what kind of evaluation method best suits the given initiative.
  • Define the goals, objectives, and desired outputs and outcomes of community engagement activities.
  • Gather credible evidence from the community that strengthens the results of the evaluation and its recommendations. Source evidence from people, documents, and observations.
Tips from the Field

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Evaluation uses information to improve current and future community engagement. When you design your evaluation, keep in mind the types of information, actions, and stakeholders that will improve your engagement.

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Be genuine in engaging community members in the evaluation process. Ensure that community members are informed about the results of the evaluation.

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Do not ignore or invalidate any feedback from community stakeholders regarding your involvement in the community.

Additional Resources
Page last reviewed: December 15, 2021