2017 Impact Statements Now Online

78% of Minnesota’s program impact submissions landed a spot in National’s final copy. The National NEAFCS Impact Statement reports are shared with our USDA stakeholders and legislatures. In addition, we created a Minnesota impact statement, which Anita Harris Hering will bring to Washington representing our association at the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. Congratulations and thank you for your submissions.

The Minnesota programs featured in the 2017 NEAFCS Impact Statements are:

HEALTH AND NUTRITIONSchool food staff putting food on plate

  • Smarter Lunchrooms incorporates research-based strategies to increase healthy food choices by students. Extension Educators trained and certified 57 Smarter Lunchroom Technical Assistance Providers in Minnesota schools. As a result, children make healthier food choices.
  • Food pantries across Minnesota learned how to use techniques encouraging clients to make healthier food choices. Techniques include product placement on shelving, produce display containers, client choice, signage, recipes and support from volunteers. Through Extension’s Healthy Nudges at Your Food Shelf and Nudging to Health for Volunteers programs, over 200 staff and volunteers are now trained nudgers.


  • Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence online course taught 149 participants to identify and avoid overindulgence utilizing learning tools. 98% identified examples of overindulgence and 95% chose the “Test of Four” tool to determine overindulgence situations.


Lori, Becky, Sara webinar photo

  • 165 professionals use Taxes 101 while working with low- to moderate-income Minnesotans. 97% felt confident or very confident using Extension’s information to help their clients make the most of tax season.
  • Your Money, Your Goals financial toolkit trainings empowered 151 front-line staff from 77 agencies. 95% of the trainers agreed the training prepared them to use the toolkit.


  • Homemade food from cupcakes to pickles sold in Minnesota are safer because of Extension’s Cottage Food: Keep it Safe! Keep it Legal program. As a result, cottage food producer registrations increased by 95% to 1930 producers. Each producer can earn up $18,000/year—an economic impact of over $9 million to Minnesota’s economy.

These impact statements are an excellent resource to find out what other Extension educators are doing in your field. We look forward to seeing your impact stories from this year!

Suzanne Driessen and Becky Hagen Jokela
NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Public Policy & Relations Co-chairs


Public Policy and Relations Committee Update 3-3-17

Writing a good impact statement is hard to do

We had 11 impact submissions this year. Thank you! We will compile them for Anita to take to the Public Institute Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C.

NEAFCS impact statement template limits us to 40 words. This gives us no choice but to be concise. Many times our statements are too general. They read more like reports with not a lot of impact. True impact statements are hard to write.

Consider three questions as you frame your statement

(AFNR intranet, January 1, 2017)

  1. What was the need or problem you were trying to solve?
    • Focus on one issue.
    • Target the audience you want to reach.
    • One impact statement does not fit all audience. Select messages from statement and tailor to each audience.
  2. What service (course, conference, materials, curriculum, etc.) did you provide/facilitate to address the need?
    • Pick 1 or 2 things that had the biggest bang.
    • Include the relevance to improve people’s health, the economy, the environment.
    • Use active verbs.
  3. How did your service improve the lives of people in the community, etc.? The results
    • Lay it out like a sports page—
      • who’s playing– identify your audience
      • what happened and how
      • what was the score or so what–numbers with $ or %
      • Why does this score (program) matter?
      • What is interesting or surprising?
      • See Top 9 Tips for  your Impact Statement, Purdue Extension,

Quotes should extend the story

Our NEAFCS impact statements ask for quotes on the benefit of the program. Quotes should illustrate and extend your story.

This: “Though, I was skeptical at first, planting cover crops improved my overall yields over the past three years.”

Not this: “Of course, Food Safety Training was the main reason we attended this academy. These classes teach the specifics. It was very interesting and informative, as well as, being a requirement to legally sell cottage foods.”

Snap a photo

Pictures tell a story! Our Extension program story. Be sure to take action photos when out and about. Take photos to help educate your point. Take photos to tell the story about your program and its impact. Be sure to have your subject(s) complete Extension’s PhotoVideo Release form.

Resources for you

Impact statements tell a compelling story, gets attention (published in the national NEAFCS impact statement report) and gets funded. Check out Pitching your Story on our extension Intranet.

More to come! The professional development committee is exploring this topic for our professional development day.

Suzanne Driessen and Becky Hagen Jokela

Outcomes and Impacts: The difference between ho-hum and projects with punch!

Outcomes and Impacts: The difference between ho-hum and projects with punch! 

Focus on relevance, relationships and results

Outputs, Outcomes and Impact are easily confused, because they all sound results oriented. What is the difference? Outputs, generally, are numbers of classes you offered or the number of participants that were reached. Outcomes and Impacts answer the question, “So What?” Impacts, generally, are the numbers with “$” or “%” next to them.

Outputs show where you directed your efforts, but Impacts show the strongest results of your efforts! We need both Outputs and Outcomes and/or Impacts to tell a compelling story; one that gets attention, funding or continues to get funded.

If you only have Outputs to report and no Outcomes or Impacts, you need to take the time to plan for impact data collection when you plan your project. Think ahead and incorporate the generation of Impact data in your plan of work.

Impacts, the best quality data, considered the Golden Egg in reporting project results, is what our legislators and stakeholders need to make compelling arguments to support or sustain Extension efforts. Without a large industry base to advocate for FCS Extension, it is up to us all to share powerful results of our work.

Here are 2016 NEAFCS IMPACT example sections that show Outputs and Outcomes and/or Impact:

Kansas educated 7,117 Kansans through Medicare plan comparisons and benefits covered explanations. Nearly half of participants changed prescription drug or Medicare advantage plans to a plan that better met their needs. This resulted in total savings of $3,699,295, or an average savings of $1,180 per person changing plans.

Wisconsin has over 16,000 children experiencing their parents’ divorce each year. To help families in need, Supporting Children with Parent’s Divorce or Separation was offered in 268 co-parenting programs to over 3000 participants that affected over 2400 children. Results included a reduction of inter-parental conflict and increased cooperation.

Arkansas taught personal finance in 200 communities reaching 5,896 people. As a result, program participants reported a total of $15,553 saved and in reduced debt.

In 2000 classrooms in Michigan, Extension educators provided classes to 54,329 students. Ninety-nine percent of teachers reported that children have an improved awareness about good nutrition with 85% reporting improvement in trying new foods, 73% increase in fruit and 67% increase in choosing vegetables. Overall, children are making healthier food choices.

Join us to help elevate the quality of our 2017 NEAFCS IMPACT statements. Data is due to Suzanne Driessen, driessen@umn.edu by January 20, 2017.

Adapted from: Hyde, G., Garden-Robinson, J. (2016). Outcomes and Impacts: The difference between ho-hum and projects with punch! A Memo to NEAFCS Members from the Public Affairs Education Subcommittee. National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences.

Promote “Dine In” Campaign and Take the Pledge

Promote “Dine In” Campaign and Take the PledgeDiningInLogo.jpg

December 3rd, 2016 is “Dine In” day. National Extension of Family Consumer Sciences  and American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences, sponsors of the Family Consumer Science day, ask you to prepare and eat a healthy meal with your family on December 3rd. Here is checklist to promote this event:

  • Commit to dining in on December 3rd. Take the dine in pledge.
  • Take a photo of your family preparing a healthy meal and post it to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram using #FCSday and #healthyfamselfie.
  • Change your Facebook profile photo to the I’m “Dining In” logo.
  • Ask your friends and family to “Dine In.”
  • Pin your favorite family meal recipes to a “Dining In” Pinterest board.
  • Add the “Dining In” logo to your email signature.
  • Promote “Dining In” to family, friends and program participants.
  • Visit the “Dine In”  to access resources.
  • Send us photos and stories about your “Dine In” experience to driessen@umn.edu.

Thanks for getting involved in your association’s public relation campaign.

Suzanne Driessen & Becky Hagen Jokela, NEAFCS-MN, Public Policy/Public Relations Co-Chairs


NEAFCS-MN Officer Candidate Bios

We have two wonderful candidates for NEAFCS  President-Elect and Secretary. Anita Harris, based out of St. Cloud, is running for President-Elect and Mary Schroeder, based out of Marshall, is running for Secretary. Please take a moment to read their bios which are posted below. Elections will be held at the annual meeting in Duluth. If possible, please plan to attend.


President-Elect: Hello!  My name is Anita (Harris) Hering and I have been a member of NEAFCS for one year.  I am running for NEAFCS- MN President-Elect.

I was hired in May of 2005 by the University of Minnesota Extension as a Regional Extension Educator for the Center of Youth Development.  In March of 2015 I joined the Center for Family Development- Family Resiliency as Extension Educator Military Families working as the Social Media Specialist in a cooperative agreement with eXtension, the Department of Defense, USDA, and the Military Families Learning Network.  My expertise is in the area of youth, families, volunteer and partnership development, curriculum development, program quality, social media, and working with military service providers, Service Members, their families and Veterans.

I attended the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University for my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education.  In 1990 I received my MA in Non-Public School Administration/Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

Upon coming to the University of MN Extension, I had 23 years of professional experience in Pre-Grade 12 education, 10 years as a classroom teacher and as a Principal for 13. I worked with school renovations, building projects, school mergers, and involved with strategic planning, grant writing and financial management (5 yearly budgets), fundraising and public relations, before and after school programs, curriculum development and implementation, just to name a few.

My husband and I live on five acres of wooded land in St. Joseph, where every day we host the “Hering Party” with deer, wild turkeys, coyote, other small animals and birds.  Since 2007 I have been involved with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon in the St. Cloud area and as a volunteer Chairperson for the largest Regional BTYR (9 cities) in MN, the Central MN Warrior to Citizen.

As President-Elect I will use my leadership and management skills to serve in a leadership capacity and work hard to promote excellence and scholarship, assist in providing innovative professional growth and development opportunities, and serve as a resource for education, information, networking and partnerships.


Secretary:Mary Schroeder has worked as an Extension educator since 1999. Prior to Extension, Mary worked as a registered dietitian in medical settings. As a clinical dietitian, Mary observed that people’s eating habits are influenced by factors such as stress, physical activity, time, and food access. Recently Mary’s work has focused on nutrition and well-being of children and youth, especially youth who live in low-income areas. She has worked with team members to develop and deliver trainings to school foodservice directors and child care providers with the goal of ensuring these environments prepare and serve high quality, nutritious foods. Mary earned a Masters degree in Public Health, Community Health Education at the University of Wisconsin — LaCrosse, WI and her Bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition from North Dakota State University.