Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation of your work will help to ensure that you are achieving what you set out to do, are staying on course and can highlight if there are problems. This data is a valuable source of information to share your success with your audiences of beneficiaries, supporters and funders and can be very helpful to include in communications, progress reports and Annual Reports.

The majority of grant funders will like to know how you plan to monitor and evaluate your project and some will ask for an end of grant report; so it is important that you factor in your approach to this, as well as the time and resources needed to undertake this work, as part of your project planning. It is a good idea to decide what and how you are going to monitor and evaluate as part of your project planning. This information can then be included in your funding bids and provide the parameters for the data you’re going to collect through delivery of the activities.

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) provides free online tools to help you plan your monitoring and evaluation, including developing a Planning Triangle and Theory of Change

It is helpful to consider what outcome and outputs you plan to deliver, and what indicators you will use to measure your progress or success.

Outputs are the activities, work or service that is delivered

Outcomes are the results of what is achieved through this activity, work or service

Indicators are things which are measurable and will enable you to check, chart and share your success, or highlight any issues

See helpful links below for guidance on developing a Monitoring and Evaluation framework

Measuring your Impact

It is important that the people in your organisation take steps to review and measure the impact of the organisation, work, service or project. This is critical to ensure that you are meeting your objectives and the needs of your beneficiaries, it also enables your organisation to communicate this to others and share your success. Engaging partners and other stakeholder organisations with your research can provide vital feedback and help ensure that your work is effective and well perceived.

Evidence of impact is often a key consideration when funders are making decisions on the organisations they wish to support. It is critical that you capture data and information which show the difference that your work is making in your community or for your beneficiaries. It can also be used to inform your communications and engagement, such as by analysing number of visits to your website, followers and engagement with social media posts, campaigns etc.

Your organisation should aim to collect both quantitative and qualitative data:

Quantitative data relates to numbers, statistics and analysis that can be quantified. Quantitative data can be used to find averages, test methods and make predictions. This type of information can be captured through survey data, record keeping and analysis. It might include information such as the number of participants, the % of people engaged in a local area, how many sessions were held etc.

Qualitative data is usually word-based descriptions and meanings, and can be captured through surveys, feedback, comments, focus groups, video, audio etc. It might include information relating to quality, experience and people’s views.

Often the work of charitable and community organisations is aimed at improving emotional wellbeing, mental health and social engagement. This type of work can be difficult to analyse and measure its impact. Qualitative data is an excellent way to capture this impact and there are also a range of free tools available online, see below.

Remember that repeating ways of collecting data, such as surveys, over a period of time, can provide a really useful way to compare your organisation and services over a wider timeframe.  

Helpful links

NCVO - How to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework

NCVO - Strategy and impact

NCVO - Impact and evaluation

National Lottery Community Fund - Tools to help you gather and use evidence and learning

Charity Excellence - Measuring Impact

Social Value - Principles of Social Value

Social Value - Return on Investment tool

What Works Wellbeing - Guide to measuring impact

Joseph Rowntree Foundation - A practical guide to evaluating community projects