Measuring Impact: Transforming Passion Into Results
The passion and commitment displayed by AFSP staff and volunteers can’t be measured. But the impact we make through our efforts in communities across the country is carefully measured by collecting and leveraging data in strategic and thoughtful ways.
AFSP employs rigorous and systematic methods to measure and report on the impact and reach of our work. We explore community perspectives through needs assessments, design culturally responsive data collection tools, as well as analyze and evaluate outcomes assessing program quality. We conduct evaluations to determine the scope and scale of our impact and who we are reaching through our efforts. These evaluations help us enhance learning, improve effectiveness, track progress toward our goals, and inform future decisions, determining how we can ultimately strengthen AFSP’s efforts.
AFSP’s impact measurement efforts go beyond simply tracking the number of people who participate in our programs. We also seek to measure:
- Participants’ gains in knowledge
- Increased awareness of and improved attitudes toward suicide prevention
- Perceived likelihood to seek help and resources for oneself or others
- Recommendations for program improvement
- Whether they would recommend the program to others
On a select basis, when long-term behavior change is critical to examine a program's success (such as measuring changes in clinical practice among pediatricians engaged in the AFSP Project ECHO initiative), we also commission external experts to conduct research studies on our programs to assess outcomes and build evidence of program effectiveness.
By taking careful steps to understand the impact of our work, we ensure that we live out the commitment of becoming a true learning organization, and that we achieve real results with the actions we take, the programs we produce, and the partnerships and initiatives we embark on. By understanding the real-world effect of our initiatives, AFSP ensures that we continue to make real change, and harness the collective energy and dedication of our staff, partners and volunteers to have a positive impact on the world.