A key question any grantor will ask of an organization applying for funding will be, "How will you know your idea worked?"
Evaluating what worked and what didn't will be crucial for your funding and for your project. What impact do you expect to achieve and how will you evaluate it?
Here are some tips to help you develop that crucial evaluation section of your grant proposal.
- Decide if you are going to do an internal evaluation with your own staff, or if you want to hire outside expertise to conduct your evaluation. Foundations often allow nonprofits to designate 5-10% of the total project budget for evaluation.
- Before you design your evaluation, consider the reasons to do an evaluation. Carlson and O'Neal-McElrath, authors of Winning Grants, Step by Step, suggest that evaluations can accomplish these six purposes:
- To find out if the hypothesis was right. Did your actually do what you set out to do?
- To determine if the methods specified were used, and if the objectives were met.
- To find out if an impact was made on the identified need.
- To obtain feedback from the people served and other members of the community.
- To maintain control over the project (evaluations are done at various points in the project).
- To make changes in the program mid-stream, if necessary, to insure the program's success.
- Determine if you will use quantitative or qualitative methods for your data collection, or what combination of the two types you will use. Develop a good description of these methods and their rationale for the grantor.
- Make sure the evaluation component of your proposal connects with the proposal's objectives and methods. If those objectives and methods are measurable and time-specific, the evaluation will be easier to design.
- Ask yourself these questions as you develop the evaluation section of your proposal:
- What is the evaluation's purpose?
- How will you use the findings?
- What will you know after the evaluation that you didn't know before?
- What will you do as a result of the evaluation that you couldn't do before because you lacked the relevant information?
- How will the clients and community served be better as a result of the program?
Page 2 - Sample of Evaluation Section