Ten Steps to the Perfect Funding Bid: Step Nine

Monitoring & Evaluation

Another question on grant application forms that is often answered badly, is the question on monitoring and evaluation.  You need to show that you understand the need to check and capture that what you are doing is actually delivering your original aims.  You may need to have some data about existing numbers / confidence / abilities, so you can show in a year’s time that these numbers have increased (or decreased, depending on what you’re aiming for!).   

First of all let’s clarify the difference between firstly monitoring, and secondly evaluation.  Monitoring is collecting your initial (benchmark) data, and then the data after your project has been running for a measurable period.  You will often need to supply some raw monitoring data to your funder.  Evaluation is the process of thinking about the data, considering its implications, and using it to amend aspects of your project. 

So to begin with it can be useful to track down some demographic information about your service provision area.  See Step 4  https://tamaraessex.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/ten-steps-to-the-perfect-funding-bid-step-4/#more-48 for details of finding the statistics relevant to your project.  

For example, you may establish that 31% of the catchment population are aged 60 and over, and that 3.2% of the catchment area are from Black and other ethnic minorities.  Then if the visitor records (for example) show that only 5% of visitors are aged 60 and over, or only 0.5% are from Black and other ethnic minorities, this would in turn prompt some active outreach to those communities under-using the facilities, and some active consideration of what inadvertent blocks are being put in the way.   Collecting the data about who is taking up your service, and putting it in a report, is the monitoring part.  Considering the report and deciding whether any action is needed (such as changing the publicity to target additional people), is the evaluation part.

Those are the first, possibly easier questions to monitor.  The others should arise from the aims and outcomes you had set out in your project plan and grant application.  You may have a satisfaction survey from prior to your project, so you can show that satisfaction has increased – but be aware that satisfaction with your service, while good, is not an actual change.  You should be aiming to collect quantity and quality data, showing some kind of change within individuals, groups, communities etc.  And for coherence, those changes need to arise directly from your original outcomes.

So if your project was about reducing childhood obesity, through providing neighbourhood football coaching for primary school age children, the measurements would need to cover the general problem of childhood obesity in the area (data from the NHS), but also the specific weight of a good sample of the children taking part in the project.  Collecting the same data at the end of the project (or after 6 months or a year) gives you the monitoring data which you can then evaluate.  At this stage you may also be given useful feedback from teachers, that the children involved now have better concentration, or are working better together in class, and have perhaps exceeded their expected grades.  This is fantastic and should be reported – but don’t suddenly change tracks and report this as the main evaluation of the project!  Stay coherent – look at your original planned outcomes – and make sure your evaluation follows through and tells the same story.

For an example of a project that has really taken this a step further, take a look at www.provingit.org  where “A Child’s Right” sets out its evaluations, linking the donor dollar directly to the outcomes for the children.  It’s a very impressive demonstration of an organisation that understands the connection that charitable trusts and individual donors want to make between the funds and the outcomes.

©  Tamara Essex 2011


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