Since I launched this website a few weeks ago, it has received many visitors. Many of you have been kind enough to send me feedback, for which I’m grateful. As I think about whether to move forward with this website, hearing from potential users has been immensely valuable.
Here’s a bit of what I’ve heard:
Feedback from Job Seekers
There seems to be a lot of interest from job seekers in the website. Being able to go to one website instead of having to jump between several is appealing to many. And, to the degree that this website aggregates an extremely wide range of evaluation jobs, including some in the corporate sector, it is different than anything that currently exists.
Several people mentioned that including RFPs alongside jobs would be helpful. While I think this is a fantastic idea, I’m less clear where to find RFPs, which makes it harder to aggregate them (if you have ideas, please let me know).
There was also some specific feedback about the design and functionality of the website itself. Being able to identify jobs that can be done remotely would be useful. And being able to search by location rather than by region would likely be more useful. Typing in an address and seeing all jobs within, say, 50 miles is something several people mentioned.
Feedback from Employers
The response from employers was mixed. Many people said that they primarily use their local connections and professional networks to hire. Others mentioned websites local to them where they have had success posting jobs.
In general, smaller evaluation firms appear to have less use for a website like this. Larger firms, however, expressed more interest, which makes sense since they hire more regularly.
One thing that this website could do that no website today does is enable employers of any size to hire for short-term evaluation needs. For example, a DC-based firm that needs to do research in Los Angeles could use the website to hire short-term interviewers.
The answer to what’s next for this website at this point is: I’m not quite sure.
As you can imagine, aggregating evaluation jobs from across the internet is no small task. Indeed, it’s actually turned out to be even more complicated than I expected. Searching for “evaluation” or “program evaluation” on job sites like Indeed or LinkedIn yields many jobs that are not evaluation in the way those reading this are likely to define the field. My idea that I could easily automate the job aggregation process was quickly shot down.
As I decide whether to continue the website, then, I have put significant effort into coming up with a way to make the project financially sustainable. Coming up with a way to have the website bring in money is key to its continuation because I, like anyone in a capitalist society, can only devote so much time to projects that don’t generate revenue. Some ideas I have considered include:
- Charging job seekers for access to the website. I will say, though, that nearly everyone I asked said they would not pay to use the site so I am unlikely to go this route.
- A Wikipedia-style donation system. Thanks to Melissa Kovacs for this idea, which would let users donate to keep the site going. I’m intrigued by this, and I think it could be one leg of a solution, but donation-based models are notoriously difficult to sustain.
- Charging employers to post jobs. This is likely a good long-term solution, but is unlikely to work in the short term while traffic to the site is low. And, if the value of the site is in aggregating jobs from around the internet, the website, if done well, would already include nearly all evaluation jobs (so employers would have no need to post theirs).
- Advertising. I would likely choose to focus on specific advertisers of interest to the evaluation community instead of general advertising, which is both annoying and less likely to bring in much revenue.
- Grant funding. Much to my surprise, I have been in touch with Dr. Michael Scriven, who, among many, many other things, runs the Faster Forward Fund, which, to quote its website, seeks “to advance the practice and profession of evaluation by providing financial resources to support innovative approaches within (and about) the evaluation field.” I am currently deciding whether grant funding from 3F is a good fit for this project.
Do you have other ideas for making this website sustainable? If so, please let me know. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I only want to move forward with the project if I can see a path to make it work in the long term.
One final note: if I do move forward with the site, the name will likely change. As Michael Scriven pointed out to me, Evaluation Careers is probably not the best name because it assumes people are using the site for long-term career possibilities. While many will do so, others may look for shorter-term jobs that aren’t necessarily careers. Given this, if I do move forward, I’ll likely rename the project and use a different domain.