Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation are tools that are used to measure how well an organisation is delivering against its defined objectives.
Monitoring is the regular and systematic collection and analysis of information to track the progress of a project implementation against pre-set targets and objectives. It aims to answer the question “did we deliver”?
Funders all require monitoring returns to review performance on a regular basis typically considering measures such as:
- people accessing services
- the numbers completing training
- how much has been spent from the budget and where it has been spent.
Evaluations are a great way to show how your group or project has been managed and whether it achieved the outcomes that were set out and the impact on the community. An evaluation might be done on an annual basis or at the end of a phase of a project.
It is important that if you get funding that you are clear on your obligations for monitoring returns and evaluation reports.
Here’s some tips to consider when looking at monitoring and evaluation.
- Set out clear objectives for your group or project that you can report against. These objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound.
- Write down all the organisations or people who are important to your group – these are known as your stakeholders. Rate how important each one of them is to your work. What information do you need to share with them about to let them know what you are doing and well you are running the group?
- Look at your letter of offer from your funders. What does it say you need to do about monitoring and evaluation? What do you need to do to put the procedures in place to meet the requirements of your funders?
- Have you undertaken any monitoring and evaluation already? What did it show? How have you learned from the results? How could you do things differently or better in the future?
- Plan out the monitoring and evaluation you need for the future.
- Identify the data you need to collect, how you will collect it and how often.
- Identify the systems and resources you need to put in place to gather the information you need for both monitoring and evaluation purposes. Who will gather the information and how? Do you need to interview people? Can information be gathered and analysed online using an online survey tool?
- Consider how you can put monitoring data together to present the information to others e.g. the members of the Management Committee. This information is sometimes called Management Information.
- Look closely at the Management Information that you have gathered. What does the data show – e.g. are you spending too much each month compared to your income each month?
- Look at the information you have gathered for an evaluation – does it help you assess the impact of your organisation or the specific project? If not, what other types of information do you need to collect and from whom.