For the first time, those invested in engaging teens have free access to a set of tools that can help track progress of any teen engagement effort, demonstrate accountability to funders and stakeholders, and inform important policy and resource allocation decisions – actions that are even more critical as a result of recent events.
Released by the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Measuring Impact: Surveys & Data Guidelines for Any Teen Education & Engagement Effort will help further elevate the field and enhance the work of those who care about meaningful Jewish engagement for young people.
Created in partnership with Rosov Consulting, a research firm that works with funders and grantees to inform and improve Jewish education and engagement, three surveys have been refined by the 10 participating communities of the Funder Collaborative. Moreover, recognizing that many organizations do not employ a data analyst, the Funder Collaborative will also make consulting hours available from Rosov Consulting for a limited number of organizations so they can customize the surveys and receive high level guidance on ways to understand and analyze the responses (interested organizations can email [email protected]). The surveys are:
- Teen Survey: the first validated and reliable way to measure the impact of Jewish experiences, the tool includes demographic information so programs can understand who they are reaching, and the Teen Learning and Engagement Scales (TJLES), survey questions which formed the basis of a major national research project, the GenZ Now: Understanding and Connecting with Jewish Teens Today.
- Parent Survey: the tool probes the attitudes and behaviors of parents of teens to garner a deeper understanding of their perspectives, knowledge, and behaviors regarding teen involvement in Jewish life.
- Youth Professionals Survey: educators assess their preparedness to do their work; the tool measures their sense of whether they feel equipped with the appropriate skills, knowledge and core competencies, as well as how valued and satisfied they feel in their roles.
“The data collected through these surveys can paint a rich picture for each organization about the whole teen education and engagement ecosystem: teens’ aspirations and motivations, parents’ desires and values, and youth professionals’ sense of their own ability to fulfill their roles,” said Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Funder Collaborative. “Although different programs take different pathways to meaningful Jewish engagement, making these publicly available equips the field with a common language and a powerful way to gather important information.
“Resources may be stretched thin, but that is precisely when good data becomes even more important – it is vital to smart decision-making,” adds Wendy Rosov, Founder of Rosov Consulting. “To make the surveys even more relevant, in response to these challenging times we incorporated new questions around wellness and mental health. We look forward to working with organizations and programs to customize the surveys to get at the heart of their own learning questions.”
The measurement tools will help organizations benchmark their goals to support their decision-making and strategy, determine and prioritize where to put resources, and help uncover what changes, if any, they might need to make in their approach. The data also can inform and essentially help advocate for increased funding or resources. Three youth-serving organizations have already fielded the surveys and have found tremendous value in using a common set of instruments.
“The professionals engaged in this work are such a key factor in creating and delivering Jewish experiences that resonate with teens,” said Wayne Green, Executive Director of the Jewish Teen Funders Network, which is using the youth professionals survey. “By fielding the Funder Collaborative’s youth professionals’ survey, we’re now able to accurately understand our youth professionals and offer them professional development programs, training, and tools to meet their needs and elevate their work. We are now looking forward to fielding the parent survey in the coming months.”
“We typically survey our teen members every few years, as well as our graduating seniors on an annual basis, to measure not only how many teens we’re reaching but the impact BBYO has on their Jewish learning and growth and how this can inform our future strategy and metrics,” said Karen Alpert, Vice President of IT Strategy and Measurement. “In 2017, we began using the TJLES as the foundational element to measure impact. With just four years of data, we have been able to track our progress more effectively, understand what programs have the most impact on teens, and prove that the more involved a teen becomes in BBYO, they more they grow Jewishly.”
The detailed guidebook, released along with the surveys, provides practical advice to empower any professional to field and analyze the surveys themselves. It includes sections on “How to Collect Data,” “How to Understand Data,” and “How to Share Data,” all with easy-to-implement but important tips and best practices. It also provides guidance on incentivizing survey response rates, and consent and data privacy.
For more information and to access the surveys and guidebook, please be in touch with Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Funder Collaborative at [email protected].