This is the third in our update series on the five pro bono projects the Improve Group began in 2010. This interview is with Research and Evaluation Director Deborah Mattila. 1. What organization are you partnered with? DM: I am working with COMPAS an organization that provides arts residency resources and community-building through the arts.  Susan Murphy is assisting me on this project. 2. Why were you interested in this request? DM: I have had a lot of arts and arts education exposure through my previous client work here at the Improve Group. My work as a Research and Evaluation Director has also given me experience with mentoring and youth development programs.  Susan Murphy has joined me on the project because of her long background in performing arts and the past work she has done at nonprofit arts organizations, for arts funding and with arts education in the schools.  It was a good fit for both of us. 3. Can you describe anything you know about their mission? COMPAS began as The Art of Poetry in 1968, was incorporated in 1974, merged with United Arts in 1998, and merged with Young Audiences of MN in July 2009. Today COMPAS has achieved 55 years of arts programming and four decades of arts education. Their organization works to bring “the beauty and power of making art” to students across Minnesota and reach people of all ages who have little or no opportunity to participate in making art of their own. 4. What issues did COMPAS want assistance with? DM: Our work together is centered on ArtsWork, their Twin Cities summer employment program for young people ages 14-21 which has students apprenticed to established teaching artists in various arts genres.  ArtsWork has gone through a leadership change with Betsy Mowry, Program Manager at COMPAS, taking over as manager of the program. Although COMPAS has done some internal evaluation work in the past, the ArtsWork program is looking for tools that will work with their new direction. COMPAS was looking for assistance in the creation of a strategic and effective evaluation for both the youth that work in program and the artists that participate as mentors. They also wanted a tool for surveying past apprentices.  Our assistance would help them assess the long-term outcomes of the program. 5. What are the beginning approaches the Improve Group is using to help? DM: We began with a series of calls and emails that led to our kick-off meeting in July with Betsy. The discussions helped us understand what kind of outcomes they are hoping to track.  We decided on creating email surveys; one for the apprentices who had just finished the program and another for those who had been a part of the program in the past. We also discussed the best methods to create and distribute the survey along with what incentive could be used to increase participation. 6. Any suggestions for organizations dealing with similar issues? DM: One of the issues we are working on is a result of a staff succession or change.  Many organizations go through this type of transition and a good way to start preparing for leadership change is an interview with the person who is leaving the position or program.  A key point for the interview would be to develop a complete but succinctly stated list of expectations on goals and outcomes for the program you would like to evaluate. At the Improve Group we like to use a logic model approach to define the process.  This is particularly helpful for new programs or those that are established but have not had a clear picture of their goals or outcomes.  It also helps when your evaluation tools have not been giving you the data you need. 7. What are the next steps for this pro bono partnership? DM: We have created the survey and we will be facilitating its implementation and analysis of the results.  We will also start drafting an alumni apprentice survey.  Our hope is that these tailored tools will help COMPAS track the longitudinal effect of their youth arts employment program. Susan and I both enjoy working on arts- and education-centered projects and we are interested in seeing how COMPAS will continue to grow their ArtsWork program in the future.