Blog by Alexis Marbach, Empowerment Evaluator, RICADV
Strategic planning for prevention seems like such a luxury. Can you imagine stepping back from implementing a program, researching emerging trends in program delivery, and participating in an agency wide conversation around the efficacy of a given program? In an era of reduced funding (and subsequently reduced levels of staffing), comprehensive planning can fall by the wayside as we strive to give and do more with less. But what happens when we forge ahead without the thoughtful and sometimes complicated planning process? We run the risk of implementing a strategy that fails to meet the needs of our audience (culturally, developmentally) and fails to achieve our intended outcomes. As prevention specialists, we must plan for our programming to know if we have the resources we need, if our program's content aligns with our intended outcomes, and what we need to do to effectively implement our identified program.
During the last week of August, I set off for Los Angeles to facilitate a conversation around one kind of planning process: creating a logic model. I was invited by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to present the core components of logic models to their Rape Prevention Education (RPE) grantees at the pre-conference to the National Sexual Assault Conference. There are over 64 RPE programs in the state of California, and each one has a unique scope of work for their primary prevention activities. While all California RPE grantees are working to evaluate their primary prevention efforts, many have not stepped back from implementation and evaluation to reassess which of their prevention programs are the most effective. In the last few months, RPE grantees have also experienced a reduction in their funding, forcing them to step back and decide which programs (or pieces of programs) should be cut or put on hold as CDPH has made it clear that their expectation is that RPE grantees "do less with less" not do more with less. Given this news, I must admit that I was a little worried about the tone of my training. Would the participants feel as though this was just one more hurdle to jump through or one more public health tool that took time away from their ability to implement? I was totally off the mark.
Over 65 prevention specialists, administrators, and rape crisis center advocates joined me on Tuesday morning to talk about the mechanics of logic models. We started by reviewing some content we had previously discussed in a webinar in July, and then outlined how we would move forward. I framed our conversation as an opportunity to learn how to create a tool that would have multiple benefits such as:
Now that we're all sold on creating a logic model - how do you do it?
Here are the key pieces of a model and what you would need to figure out in order to complete the template:
Ta-da! You've created a logic model!!
To follow the process in action and have a more comprehensive run down of how to create a logic model, check out this previously taped webinar: http://www.calcasa.org/blog/logic-models-prevention-programming-web-conference and this elearning unit from our colleagues at PreventConnect: http://learn.preventconnect.org/course/view.php?id=21.
Have you ever created a logic model? What are your favorite resources for planning for prevention programming? Please share your experience and resources with us!