How do we at CHES know if we’re really helping anyways?
by CHES Inc
These are exhilarating times! We are so proud of ourselves for coming this far on so little. When CHES first started out, we had little time, little experience, and no funding. However, we had a common vision and mission. We pooled our time, our expertise, and our funds to start. We grew the little that we had and we’ve done a great deal together with present and past volunteers and institutions that have given us their support.
Nonprofits must measure and evaluate (M&E) their services to assess their effectiveness and justify their existence wherever they serve. We underwent a rigorous evaluation of our services and came away with a lot of insights. We thought it would be great to share with you our M&E analysis of our work over the last few years.
- Our business training program has exceeded our expectations in terms of its impact. 88% of the content we taught women entrepreneurs in the training program are being utilized even 6 months to one year after our trainings. This has resulted in increased profitability for ALL of the businesswomen we served! All have reported to have either increased cost savings, increased sales or have succeeded to do both. They are also sharing their new gained knowledge with fellow small business owners. We need to immediately scale this program.
- While the first seed funding case did not end desirably due to factors both within and outside of the control of the entrepreneurs and that of CHES, we learned a lot about how to redesign this program for more successful results with future entrepreneurs. We are already working with our lawyers on redesigning this service.
- The work we do in CHES requires highly skilled and dedicated staff and volunteers. CHES is now beyond the stage where we can survive on volunteer power alone. Recruiting the right talent and funding is key.
Our M&E Process:
Business Trainings – On every trip to Haiti, we’ve gathered lots of data and kept as accurate as possible records we could. We always evaluated all of the services that we have provided during our trips. Evaluations immediately after the delivery of any of our programmings have always been high. However, we at CHES wanted to ensure that our efforts were having a lasting impact.
We scheduled follow-up calls with the groups of women we trained in La Gonâve and Gonaïves. We asked them whether they utilized the content we taught them and to provide specific examples of how. Below are some of the data point and anecdotes from these calls:
- We were able to reconnect with 58% of those who completed one of our training sessions.
- Below is a graph of how the sessions we taught in La Gonâve and Gonaïves:
- Below are some of the anecdotes of how our CHES trained business women are utilizing the content that we taught them:
- “I’ve benefited from identifying all of the stakeholders of my business. I’ve taken time to really talk to my stakeholders.”
- “I treat my merchandise better so that people value it more.”
- “I play on the placement, the price, the condition of my products”
- “I found that inventory management is extremely important for me and I then track my sales, and I do it daily. I can see where the sales are coming in and where the losses are and how to address it.”
- “Selling! We LOVED that session! We use the principles that we learned when we are selling. We wear the scarves and that helps us sell more.”
In addition to providing examples of how they apply what they learned, these women also revealed that they shared what they learned with their fellow business owner friends. They have reported that their friends’ businesses are faring better. This was an outcome that we at CHES had not anticipated and we are delighted by the multiplier effect!
Seed Funding – As we had previously mentioned, we went to visit PWOL to see where we could help them revitalize their business activity. After our time together in Haiti, the outlook seemed very hopeful. Prior to our visit, we had a part-time employee on the ground who maintained constant communication with PWOL on behalf of CHES. After our trip to Haiti however, PWOL was unable to deliver on some of their commitments due to factors both within and outside of their control. We have since looked at other comparable programs and research studies conducted across the world and we are implementing changes to better this program. As mentioned above, work is already underway. We are working with our lawyers on this process.
Staffing – Some past and current volunteer officers have recommended that we hire services for some key areas. We found that volunteers are easy to attract for the trips. Volunteers rarely stay long after the trips to help with operations. We’ve learned that we need to have a mixed staffing model to run the operations all year long.
Exciting times are ahead for CHES. We have come a good ways and there is still a long road ahead on this journey upon which we’ve embarked. We sharing these important findings with large funders whose values and interest areas align with ours. We continue to welcome constructive feedback and helping hands as we move forward.
November 13, 2016
October 30, 2015