We are interested in what difference you expect to make with individuals and communities, how you will go about tracking progress, and learning from findings so that it helps you to develop and improve. We want your monitoring and evaluation to be useful to you to help improve your project and to enable you to understand how and why you are making a difference.
Watch the video below to hear some of our projects talk about monitoring and evaluation in their own organisations.
Here are some of the key terms you might come across when thinking about tracking progress and evaluation:
Evaluation: Evaluation is the systematic assessment of the design implementation or results of an initiative for the purposes of learning improving or decision-making.
Monitoring: The routine systematic collection and recording of data about a project mainly for the purpose of checking its progress against its plans.
Aim: The overarching purpose of a project programme or evaluation: what it is aiming to achieve.
Indicator: Specific information collected to show whether or not or to what extent something is happening. This could be a quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a reliable way to measure achievement reflect the changes connected to an intervention or to help assess performance.
Output: Products services or facilities that result directly from an organisation's or project's activities.
Outcome: An effect or change that happens as a result of a project or organisation’s work. This can be direct or indirect positive or negative and intended or unintended. There is overlap between the concept of ‘outcomes’ and ‘impact’ and sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. It is helpful to consider outcomes in relation to how they follow on from inputs and outputs.
Impact: Broad or longer-term effects of a project or organisation’s work. This can include effects on direct and indirect users or participants and effects on a wider field e.g. government policy. There is overlap between the concept of ‘outcomes’ and ‘impact’ and sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.
There are a lot of resources available on the internet, here are a few that may help you to think about your monitoring and evaluation and how you might want to measure the difference your project makes.
Inspiring Impact provides tools and resources for individuals and organisations looking to explore impact measurement.
Big Lottery Fund self-evaluation guide provides help when thinking about the benefits of evaluation and how to get started.
Impact support provides practical tools for charities and social enterprises focusing on impact management.
Effectiveness programme by Bond provides practical help to prove and improve effectiveness and boost impact.
BetterEvaluation is an international collaboration working to improve evaluation practice and theory. Their website provides information on evaluation including approaches and themes.