Graphic image that says: "The Olmstead Quality of Life Survey - Help us cross the finish line!"
August 31, 2017 - 11:19am

The Olmstead Quality of Life Survey has reached a major milestone—more than 1,100 completed surveys out of the goal of 2,000. The survey—the largest of its kind ever conducted on a statewide basis—aims to better understand how people living with disabilities throughout Minnesota feel about their quality of life and to measure change over time.

Headshots of new and promoted team members, from upper left corner to bottom right corner: Derek Hazeltine, Maria Moeller, Tia Bastian, and Jenny Franklin.
August 31, 2017 - 11:05am

Evaluation Firm Hires, Promotes Key Staff

The Improve Group (IG) is pleased to announce several key changes to the company’s top leadership. The new structure will allow IG to continue providing excellent client service while building a solid infrastructure to carry out our strategic goals: Expand our tools and services to meet community needs; lead with a joyful and powerful team; and use our practice to promote positive social change.

Graphic that includes The Improve Group logo and a headline that states "Building a robust and diverse talent pool of evaluators in the field"
July 27, 2017 - 2:13pm

Although summer has reached the halfway mark, we can’t let it go by without reflecting on the experiences of our recent interns—Audrey McIntyre and Michael Prideaux.

Our interns over the 2016-17 academic year, Audrey and Michael, worked on team projects for the Angel Foundation, the Highland Friendship Club, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and our work with Minnesota’s Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) grantees.

Both Audrey and Michael said that interaction with clients and involvement in project work were highlights of their internships.

July 26, 2017 - 4:50pm

IG shares evaluation tips and tools with evaluators and non-evaluators alike!

It’s almost that time of year again—fall conference season—and The Improve Group is preparing for a flurry of presentations and trainings. Building people’s evaluation skills aligns with our commitment to capacity building. We value this work because of the importance of equipping communities and organizations to navigate complexity so that they can make a sustained impact.

Image of the We are Water Exhibit
June 29, 2017 - 10:22am

Water touches all aspects of life in our state, including health, industry, and recreation. Even the name Minnesota—from a Dakota word meaning "land where the water reflects the sky”—demonstrates the importance of water in our lives. It is this deep connection that inspired an unlikely partnership of state agencies and six local communities to create We Are Water MN, a traveling exhibition that celebrates Minnesota’s love affair with water and engages residents in caring for this precious resource.

Graphic image of the article's title: "Better Together: Approaching Evaluation as Equals" by Claire Stoscheck
June 29, 2017 - 10:10am

One important aspect of our work that I am constantly reminded of is how creating space for clients to contribute their specialized knowledge leads to innovation and great ideas in evaluation projects.

Image of Research Analysts providing Capacity Building to clients with text box that says "Capacity Building Over Time: Seeing Clients Grow"
May 31, 2017 - 10:30am

Here at The Improve Group, we have had the pleasure of developing relationships with certain clients, including some we’ve watched grow through our capacity-building partnerships. We value this type of work because of the importance we see in equipping communities and organizations to navigate complexity and have sustained impact. One client we have done extensive capacity building with is VocalEssence, a Minneapolis-based choral music organization.

Image of the Minnesota State Welcome Sign including graphic text that says "4 Factors that Make Minnesota Hot for Evaluation"
May 31, 2017 - 9:48am

You may have heard the saying “What gets measured, gets done.” In Minnesota, nearly every program, initiative, or collaborative effort has an evaluation component. With the practical application of so many different evaluations, we wondered: What are the conditions that make an environment fertile for evaluation – and evaluators?

Here are 4 factors that make Minnesota a great place to be an evaluator:

1. A vibrant nonprofit and philanthropic economy

Image of The Improve Group's Research Analysts Facilitating a Theory of Change Workshop
May 2, 2017 - 1:15pm

We recently facilitated a 2-hour Theory of Change workshop with 30 youth and adult members of the Minnesota Youth Council, an initiative of Minnesota Alliance with Youth that empowers youth to exercise their voices, opinions and ideas to take action on youth issues across the state. The purpose was to gather their input as to which issues concern Minnesota Youth Council, what its strategies are to address them, the expected long-term outcome of their work, and ultimate vision of a better world.

E-Study: Evaluation as Engagement
April 28, 2017 - 1:06pm

Traditional evaluation approaches can miss important information by failing to account for context or differences across communities. Using a Community-Responsive Approach to evaluation engages stakeholders for better data, better relationships, and more fun!

Ultimately, community members know their communities best.

Community members and stakeholders can provide critical input to evaluators in every stage of an evaluation – something The Improve Group has learned yields the most comprehensive and authentic findings.

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