Breakfast Club Blog

Hate Your Data? There’s A Toolkit For That!

We’ve all been there. Frustrated with maintaining 15 different spreadsheets, 30-word documents, and 19 Survey Monkey Surveys, a nonprofit leader says, “Enough! Let’s just get a database.” Yes! Finally! A centralized place for all the program’s data will help the team serve clients better and make reporting to funders a breeze. Joy and excitement fade to sadness as the team struggles to fathom how to go about getting a new database, much less implementing one. And the stakes couldn’t be higher: n...Read More

Turn Your Survey Hell into Survey Heaven in Three Easy Steps

Nearly all after-school and summer programs have their kids take surveys, and nearly all programs suffer through the process. Surveys so rarely live up to their promise, and it gets harder and harder to convince staff and youth to complete this annual chore. In my experience as a professional evaluator, surveys almost always have three big flaws that limit their usefulness. Fix these flaws to turn survey hell to survey heaven! Step One: Organize survey questions by theme Think of the three or fo...Read More

Why it’s Important to Ask “What Could Go Wrong?” During Program Planning

Planning a new program or improvements to an existing program usually involves setting objectives, planning activities, and other critical tasks. In the excitement of planning something new, it can seem like a buzzkill to ask, “What could go wrong?” Several months ago, I started asking this question consistently with staff teams in my division of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. We discussed it when we were planning a kick-off meeting for a district-wide initiative, when we were conside...Read More

Seven Super Tools to Prevent Misbehavior

Super Spaces When you walk into a gymnasium, you behave differently than when you walk into a library. The environment sends cues to the brain about how you should feel and behave. Provide an environment that encourages desirable behavior. The space should say “Play with me!” in a way that clearly defines HOW to play. The way you arrange your space and what you put in your space tells children what types of behavior are expected in that space. Control the environment, not the child. ...Read More