Topic: Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofits:

  • Executing on Mission
  • Measuring that Matters

Multi-service organizations have inherent challenges when trying to measure and communicate their effectiveness. The kaleidoscope of programs offered by these organizations results in complexity (and confusion) that gets in the way of understanding its purpose and impact. Stakeholders simply get overwhelmed with the variety of things going on. 

Statements of intended impact and theories of change provide clarity about what an organization does and how it does it. This clarity is beneficial in many ways. It provides guidance for program development, aligns effort among individual programs, provides a framework to evaluate effectiveness, and simplifies and unifies messaging and communication. 

This session will present a case study of an organization’s effort to evaluate its intended impact and theory of change. A brief overview of the evaluation project will be provided. Then results from the client recruitment, baseline data collection, and initial six-month follow-up phases of the project will be shared to promote reflection and stimulate discussion. Participants will consider the ways in which the results support or challenge the organization's intended impact and theory of change and the potential implications of those conclusions. Additionally, participants will consider the various risks, benefits, and barriers organizations might face in attempting to conduct a similar type of evaluation. Finally, the presenters will share strategies and techniques for effectively communicating data-rich results to stakeholder groups to maximize engagement and understanding.

Learning Objectives

  • Critically review organizational efforts to evaluate intended impact and theory of change
  • Risks, benefits, and challenges of conducting an organization-wide evaluation
  • How to effectively communicate data-rich material to maximize engagement and understanding


  • Greg Ryan, chief strategy officer, Heartland Family Service (@HeartlandFam)
  • Clayton Juarez, internal evaluation consultant, Heartland Family Service (@Category_ONE)
  • Sara Roberts, co-founder and principal consultant, Category One Consulting (@HeartlandFam)

Greg Ryan
Chief Strategy Officer
Heartland Family Service

Greg Ryan is a dedicated human services professional who is passionate about how data can be used to improve decision making in organizations. His 15 years of experience with Heartland Family Service has included a variety of clinical and administrative roles. Currently, as the organization’s chief strategy officer, he works with the leadership team and board of directors to develop, implement, and monitor the organization’s strategic plan and leads many of the organization-wide strategic initiatives. Ryan is also responsible for the agency’s quality improvement, technology, and facility maintenance departments. His professional interests and experience center on systems and data analysis, research and evaluation, and organizational performance management.

Sara Roberts
Co-Founder and Principal Consultant
Category One Consulting

Sara Roberts is co-founder and principal consultant at Category One Consulting (C1C), a consulting firm focused on helping organizations maximize their effectiveness through the application of research, analytics, and evidence-based practices. Prior to starting C1C, she served as director of talent analytics at ConAgra Foods and a research and evaluation specialist at the Omaha Public Schools. Roberts earned her doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is certified in relational database fundamentals and Structured Query Language (SQL) by the Nebraska Business Development Center.

Clayton Juarez
Internal Evaluation Consultant
Heartland Family Service

Clayton Juarez is the internal evaluation consultant for Heartland Family Service, where he has managed an agency-wide, longitudinal study of client outcomes since 2016. Prior to joining Heartland Family Service, Juarez worked for the talent analytics team at ConAgra Foods and served as consultant for the Nebraska Medical Center, Lincoln Police Department, and Lincoln Fire & Rescue.He has held positions as adjunct faculty and graduate assistant at the College of Business Administration and the Department of Psychology, respectively, at the University of Nebraska Omaha, and as research assistant with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Children, Families, and the Law. Juarez is currently completing his doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Nebraska Omaha.