Much as been written on the subject of grant evaluation metrics - it cannot be done justice in one short blog post. Consider this article an introduction on the topic, and contact us if you have any questions.
An evaluation plan is a key element to consider when grant writing. It shows how you will measure two key aspects of the project described in your grant application:
1. The Process Evaluation demonstrates that you are performing the tasks according to the project plan. That is, you're doing what you said you'll be doing.
2. The Outcome Evaluation demonstrates that you have achieved the goals and impact you were funded to achieve. That is, you're getting the right results.
If your objectives are detailed and stated clearly, the outcome evaluation plan should follow naturally.
A strong evaluation plan will provide details on the methods, metrics, and benchmarks for success that will be used. Explain how progress and outcomes will be measured as well as how often the evaluator will be reviewing the progress outcomes. As with objectives, be as quantitative and specific as possible when stating the intended results.
For example, for a recent REMS application (an educational grant) we prepared for a client, the evaluation plan included:
- An outside evaluator, hired with grant funding
- Planned, periodic meetings with the Program Coordinator and other vital staff throughout the funding cycle to provide informal, formative feedback
- Stated measures for success, both qualitative and quantitative. The plan included the number of staff and student training sessions (quantitative), the number of community-based informational sessions and training opportunities (quantitative) and pre/post test surveys to measure the change-in-knowledge of parents and school staff members (qualitative), as well as other measurable components with demonstrable results
- Periodic progress reports prepared by the evaluator for program staff
You'll notice that this evaluation plan had elements embedded in it throughout the project and the funding cycle - it should not be an afterthought. Evaluators must be included at the beginning to set up the data collection and evaluation practices along the way. Whether you hire an external evaluator or assign in-house staff to perform the evaluation themselves, make sure to state clearly who will be performing the evaluation when you write your grant.
In addition to giving your grant proposal a more competitive edge, a strong evaluation plan (especially the process evaluation) will help assure that the resulting project is well-managed once you get your funding.
We offer more tips on how to improve your grant evaluation plan in our free article, Making Your Case for Funding. You can download it for free by clicking on the button below.