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Publication #FCS9164

Building Coalitions: Evaluating the Collaboration1

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Muthusami Kumaran, and Lisa Guion2

Evaluating and monitoring collaborative efforts are essential tasks if we are to be successful in coordinating programs for young people. Evaluation efforts become more manageable when approached from two different levels. These include (1) evaluation of the collaboration process and (2) measuring the impact of programs for targeted audiences. This fact sheet focuses on evaluating the collaboration process.

An evaluation of the collaborative process can be pursued by studying several different potential outcomes.

Potential Areas of Evaluation Quality

  • Training—What training has the group done for other youth professionals, coalition members, or youth?

  • Continuity—How long has the group been together? Is there still a desire to work together? What type of structure has been developed to assure the continuity of the collaboration, such as officers, membership guidelines, and memoranda of understanding?

  • Involvement—How active are the group's members? How often do they meet? How much volunteer and professional time is being focused on a particular problem because of the collaboration?


  • What types of individuals and organizations are represented? Are these the right type of collaborators to accomplish the work of the collaboration?

  • Has there been an increase in the number of referrals between collaboration members? What has been the nature of these referrals?

  • What types of databases or directories have been created to facilitate the sharing of information and assistance related to youth issues?

Access and Equity

  • Do all youth in the community have equal access to collaboration efforts?

  • How do other non-collaborators obtain access to the information and services of the collaboration members?

Information and Advocacy

  • How has information been increased for parents, public, policy makers and youth?

  • To what extent do member organizations promote each other’s efforts, workshops and conferences?

  • How is the group serving as an advocate for youth issues in the community?


  • Have existing funds been used more effectively? How?

  • Has duplication of services been reduced or eliminated?

  • Has the group been able to access new funds because of working together? If not, what can be done to change the situation?

Additional General Questions

  • What is working well?

  • What are the major problems?

  • Are there unanticipated outcomes because of working together?

To explore the questions in the proposed areas of evaluation, many methodologies can be used. Some of the most common include the following:

  • Surveys/Questionnaires

  • Interviews

  • Structured Observation

  • Review of Records and Reports

  • Focus Group Interviews

  • Interaction Analysis


Brinkerhoff, R. O., D. M. Brethower, T. Hluchyi, and J. R. Nowakowski. 1985. Program Evaluation: A Practitioner's Guide for Trainers and Educators. Boston: Kluwer-Nijhoff Publishing.

Kagan, S. L., A. M. Rivera, and F. L. Parker. 1991. Collaborations in Action: Reshaping Services to Young Children and Their Families. Yale University, The Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy.


Richard W. Clark, PhD, The Ohio Center For Action on Coalitions, assistant professor, Extension specialist, 4-H, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, The Ohio State University.

© 1992 The Ohio State University

This series on Coalition Building was developed by the Ohio Center for Action on Coalition Development for Family and High Risk Youth, Richard Clark, PhD, Director. It has been adapted for UF/IFAS Extension Faculty in Florida to facilitate work with local and regional organizations and groups such as non-profits, cooperatives, county extension associations, and others that might benefit from a plan for working together to achieve support for mutual goals.



This document is FCS9164, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2002. Revised February 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


Adapted for use in Florida by Elizabeth B. Bolton, professor emeritus; Muthusami Kumaran, assistant professor; and Lisa Guion, former assistant professor; Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. Originally developed by the Ohio Center for Action on Coalition Development for Family and High Risk Youth.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.