Reflections on Assessment and Evaluation

From PBHA's Assessment and Evaluation Chair Xavier Escobar

As Assessment and Evaluation Chair, I work with Salesforce to promote program quality, institutional memory, and participant safety at PBHA. Paired with the “Common App,” Salesforce allows us to gather valuable data regarding volunteer information, enrollment, and numbers at both the program and organization level. We track how many volunteers get involved with our programs, and assess our effectiveness regarding support, inclusivity, and volunteer retention. We can also easily spot which programs may need more support and refer available volunteers to them, creating connections across programs that serve similar communities.

Salesforce is also instrumental in maintaining volunteer and participant safety. Programs working with minors use Salesforce to store emergency contact information as well as track participant attendance. It’s also really neat to be able to see some of our younger participants grow with our PBHA programs. Salesforce allows PBHA to evaluate where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we strive to be.

Although Salesforce is awesome as is, one of my goals is to improve the process by restructuring the user interface so it’s easier for directors to use. I’m hoping to create a dashboard with “Dynamic Links”—tabs to whatever information users would like to access (i.e. a button that links directly to the current term’s participants or volunteer). Hopefully the new layout will be available for all program directors to use by the fall of next year!

While gathering information using Salesforce makes up a large part of my job description, I’m also interested in hearing about what volunteers and directors actually think about the quality of our programs. Hearing firsthand from directors and volunteers about their experiences is just as—if not more—important as knowing how programs are doing logistically. By talking to other PBHA directors and by analyzing data from the Student Experience Survey, I help PBHA leaders gauge how well we are providing our members with a rewarding and self-improving experience. Although my work as AEC is all about improving the experience of everyone involved in PBHA as a whole, that cannot be done without understanding individual issues across each of our programs and supporting everyone involved.

My experience as Assessment and Evaluation Chair has helped transform the way I look at public service. I’ve been able to combine my experiences with hands-on individual volunteering and organizational work from a holistic view. A lot of the position consists of working with data and logistics. But when I’m actually interacting with the people behind the numbers, it’s inspiring to see the genuine care they put into the work they do. The members of PBHA are truly passionate about the communities they serve, and as AEC I can help measure our effectiveness and maximize our impact.