We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. – Bill Gates
Evaluation is one of the core values of outdoor leadership because it helps us improve. When we start a trip with a group we likely do some sort of “briefing” exercise to set expectations and frame out the scope of the expedition or experience. Then when we end a trip we “debrief” it to see what people have learned, how they were transformed, and most importantly how they will transfer what was learned to future pursuits. Good evaluation questions that are easily accessible in your mind are a great tool for improvement because you can pull them out in a moment when people are ready to give you feedback.
EVALUATION QUESTIONS TO DEBRIEF YOUR WHOLE SEASON, NOT JUST YOUR RECENT TRIP
When I come to the end of a season of outdoor ministry (Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, etc.) I use the following SCOPE evaluation questions to “evaluate” the whole season of ministry to measure the fruit and see how we might improve.
There are many different ways we can evaluate the quality of our outdoor ministry and the caliber of our outdoor leadership skills. I would like to share one easy way to evaluate your ministry that will bring alot of fruit.
In my post, 5 Questions that will Focus the SCOPE of your Outdoor Ministry to Make it More Marketable, I share the schema called “SCOPE” as a way to sharpen how you market your wilderness ministry to win trust and recruit participants. In debriefing or evaluating your wilderness ministry you can use the same approach:
USING “SCOPE” AS AN EVALUATION TOOL
1. SERVICE: What services did you specifically offer this season?
- Were we able this season to do anything better than 90% of other leaders/ministries in this industry?
- What were our guides specifically good at this season?
- What needs to be emphasized in this next season as a growth area?
- How did our outdoor ministry make our church or community a better place?
- Was there a theme verse from Scripture, or a special catch-phrase or priority we emphasized this season? How can you celebrate that?
2. CORE COMPETENCIES: Why would my target audience want to take part in our outdoor ministry again in the future?
- How did we meet the needs of our participants this season?
- What set our ministry apart this season. How did we maintain or gain new levels of credibility with our audience? How can we communicate that in our future ministry marketing?
3. ONLOOKERS: Who was our audience this season? Who were the participants we served?
- Who was attracted to what we have to offer this season? (Youth, adults, small groups, leaders, etc.)
- Are we serving our desired target audience or did people participate who are not in our target audience? What does that mean for our future?
- Who really needs to experience what our ministry has to offer in the future?
4. PITCH: What specifically did we say to our participants to “pitch” them our ministry? What phrases or language are we using?
- How did the word get out about our ministry this year? What worked? What needs to change?
- How should we follow up with those who participate with us to invite them to help us expand our reach to other people?
5. ENVISAGE: What did we do this season that will help us improve our longevity as a ministry?
- What are some action steps we need to take to make our ministry even more sustainable than it is right now?
- Timeline: Working backwards… what do we want to change and what kind of timeline do we need to put in place to implement those changes?
- Who can mentor me in getting from point A to point Z? Have I identified a key mentor to help me improve my growth areas?