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There are also some potential challenges involved in hiring someone else to do your evaluation. Someone who is not familiar with your program may need to spend some time getting acquainted with the logic model and operational details, which can add significant cost. To minimize the startup factor, consider hiring an evaluator from your community or field who has an understanding of social services generally, and ideally some familiarity with the type of program being evaluated (e.g., theoretical model, populations, outcomes).

The single most important factor in using an external evaluator is finding a good match. Hiring an unqualified evaluator, or one who does not work well with you or your target population and program staff, can be detrimental, leading to such unintended consequences as alienating staff, intruding on the community (e.g., school, agency) in which your program is implemented, or drawing incorrect conclusions about the program.

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