Proving That Our Work Makes a Difference

At Interfaith Action, we believe that there are thousands of people in East Metro faith communities who would love to be paired with volunteer work to bring their faith to life—if they can trust that their work would really make a difference.

How do we know that the work we’re asking you to engage in makes a difference?

  • Observations. With Project Home, for example, you are right there with the guests, experiencing the power of what safe shelter provides.
  • Feedback. We frequently ask clients to provide input. In our Department of Indian Work emergency services, we seek feedback several times per year and adjust our services accordingly.
  • Experience. Our professional staff have deep subject matter expertise, and our partners, such as those in the Opportunity Saint Paul program, are trained in proven approaches, from teaching reading to coaching adults in how to get and retain a job.

These ways of knowing give us confidence that we are making a difference. But we also believe we can and should be in a rigorous spiral of learning and improvement. That is why we are engaging outside eyes to evaluate our work. With Opportunity Saint Paul, for example, we know that our tutors’ impact on reading levels is a function of our nonprofit partners’ strength, so we provide these partners with monthly sessions with Michael Quinn Patton, the evaluator who wrote the textbook on developmental evaluation.

Developmental evaluation is designed to increase the effectiveness of work in real time, as the work is happening. Patton listens closely to our partners’ most pressing concerns and helps them to design pathways to even greater effectiveness.

Your most precious resource is your time. When we ask you to volunteer with Interfaith Action, we’re asking you to trust that your time will be well-spent. We do the hard work that is necessary to deserve your trust.