Sharing significant findings, successes, challenges, and lessons learned with the right audiences at the completion of a program is important. Dissemination should be a planned process that considers target audiences, key stakeholders, and the settings in which you will share program and evaluation findings. This Section includes guidance on planning for dissemination.
A dissemination plan guides the sharing of program and research findings or products with those who will use the information in practice. Disseminating your findings and products is critical to ensure that others use and benefit from what you learned. Dissemination facilitates wide distribution of information, whether program and research results, or lessons learned from an effective intervention.
Z-CAN Example: Sharing Z-CAN Findings and Lessons
The Z-CAN program developed a Dissemination Plan to share key findings and lessons learned from the Z-CAN program efficiently. The goal was to share information, strategies, and results from the Z-CAN program model that could be replicated or adapted in settings as part of emergency preparedness and response efforts. An additional goal was to disseminate Z-CAN’s design and implementation strategies so that they could be refined and adapted in other non-emergency settings in which increased access to contraception could improve health outcomes.
The Z-CAN Dissemination Plan provides a detailed list of activities, including the strategy, timeline, target audience, who is responsible for activity, and status toward achieving the objectives. This excerpt presents two initial dissemination activities.
Effective communication will ensure that the right messages are conveyed to the right audiences through the right channels. An effective dissemination plan will help the program staff think about different communication strategies and how to plan appropriately within a given timeline. It also is important to take into account time and budget for dissemination activities, including travel, printing, production, and staff time.
Z-CAN Example: The Dissemination Plan
To share program and evaluation results broadly, the Z-CAN program has developed a Dissemination Plan that includes publications in peer-reviewed periodicals; presentations at domestic and global meetings and conferences; meetings with key stakeholders at the federal, state, and territorial levels; and packaging key information, resources, and tools on how the Z-CAN program was developed, implemented, and evaluated. These combined dissemination efforts will serve as a “how to” for others who are interested in learning, replicating, or adapting key components of the Z-CAN program.
Effective dissemination strategies make program and research findings accessible to a wide range of different relevant stakeholders, and evaluation of your dissemination efforts should always be a part of your dissemination plan. It is important to know how many people your dissemination strategy reached, whether it reached the audiences you intended, and what was the result of your efforts. Some tools for doing this include tracking number of presentations, publications, and meetings attended in which you disseminated information; talking to partners about whom they disseminated information to and how many; using web analytics to look at the number of product downloads; and using social media analytics to look at metrics such as shares, likes, and retweets.
Z-CAN Example: Tracking Dissemination Success
The Z-CAN Dissemination Plan serves as a tracker for presentations and publications, including those in the planning and development phases. Z-CAN program staff periodically meet to review and update the plan with key staff and stakeholders to ensure dissemination efforts are reaching the intended audiences and have appropriate reach to diverse settings where results and lessons learned are applicable. The Z-CAN program staff also developed electronic materials to share key information, resources, and tools, and tracked use and application of the disseminated materials after launch.