Infusing Data into the Corporation for National and Community Service

CNCS grantee being interviewed for Data Driven research and evaluation video
Mary Hyde, Director of Research and Evaluation

We’re living in the age of data. Look around us. From business decisions to shopping lists to even fitness activities, almost everything we do is analyzed to determine trends and generate insights. While this focus on information is relatively new to some sectors, it’s been a longstanding tradition at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

The CNCS Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) helps further the agency’s mission of service by producing accurate and timely research on national service, social innovation, volunteering, and civic engagement.

During the 2019 Research Summit, we had an opportunity to interview CNCS research grantees and other industry colleagues for a video to discuss the role of research and evaluation in national service programs.

Ultimately, the Office of Research and Evaluation’s efforts contributes to the CNCS mission by:

  • Supporting CNCS programs and advancing scholarship
  • Identifying national service trends
  • Measuring national service impact
  • Promoting program improvement, innovation, expansion, and impact

ORE addresses these four areas by conducting original and sponsored research and evaluations, supporting evaluations of grantees’ research and programs, and promoting evidence-based service models. All of this infuses data into CNCS programs and contributes to the public understanding of national service. One of our industry colleagues, Dr. Rebecca Frazier from JBS International, conveyed the value of research and evaluation very succinctly,

“I think we’re in a time where evidence matters, and we have limited funding, and you have to prioritize. You’ve got to think about what works and put your money towards that, and I think that evaluation is the way that we figure out what works.”

Research and evaluation at CNCS reinforces the important work of our national service programs with substantiated data. Our research measures both what works and what isn’t working as well as expected, so CNCS can be good stewards of funding and volunteer resources We’re proud to empower our colleagues, grantees, and industry experts to support our communities through data-driven programs.

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