- Keep the organization’s resources in mind in the planning phase, such as people, money and time. When identifying your indicators and data sources, consider the resources required to actually collect and report on the data. Be mindful of the resources needed to implement evaluation at several points in a project, including mid-term and final.
- Remember that monitoring and evaluation is an ongoing process for your organization’s learning, as well as measuring the organization’s steps towards long-term goals. Considering how monitoring and evaluation extends beyond the life of a particular project (long-term impact) is also important in your resource allocation.
- Delineate roles for staff and volunteers in conducting monitoring and evaluation. Identify who will be responsible for data collection, analysis, reporting, etc. and allocate time for staff/volunteers accordingly. Someone needs to be in charge of evaluation to ensure that all the necessary pieces of work are happening. This lead person must also be able to count on the help of other key team members. These responsibilities should be made clear from the beginning, in the planning phase of a public engagement project, and should be valued by the organization as a whole on an ongoing basis.
- Don’t underestimate the time and resources required to conduct your monitoring and evaluation activities. If you don’t plan realistically, the quantity and quality of your data will suffer.
- Don’t leave the responsibility for conducting monitoring and evaluation unassigned. Something that is everyone’s job can sometimes become no one’s job.
- Don’t give up on evaluation because you think the knowledge or resources aren’t available to carry it out.
“I have been involved in evaluations with budgets ranging from under $1,000 to the hundreds of thousands. An evaluation with a smaller budget is not necessarily less valuable, but it does often require organizations to be very focused and specific about what they want to measure and how they can best measure it given the resources available. For example, rather than conducting a large-scale survey of all public engagement program participants, the organization may choose to do a smaller-scale focus group with a few participants to gather participant feedback.”
– Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist
“At the planning stage of each public engagement activity, we identify who is in charge of the coordination of the activity, and who will support this person. Together, the group agrees on the objectives, target audience, deadlines, evaluation methods and responsibilities. The Coordinator writes all of it in a Terms of Reference document for the activity, which becomes the reference document for all the people involved. He/she is in charge of making sure the activity is organized according to what has initially been decided, supporting the team members with what they need (often with reminders), and writing the final report, including compiling the evaluation data provided by everyone. This process works very well for us and ensures that nothing is left out.”
-Communications Specialist for a large NGO