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About monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring progress and evaluating your outputs and processes is key to constantly improving the performance of your organisation. Here is an introduction to what monitoring and evaluation are and the benefits in a third sector context.

What does monitoring and evaluation mean?

Monitoring is the routine and systematic collection of information against a plan. The information might be about activities, products or services, users, or about outside factors affecting the organisation or project. You can use this information to report on your project to help you evaluate.

Evaluation is about using monitoring and other information you collect to make judgements about the value of any component part of an organisation or its projects, products, services or benefits, or about the organisation as a whole. It is also about using the information to make changes and improvements.

There are other key monitoring and evaluation terms, which are often used by funders when they require monitoring and evaluation information.

Why are monitoring and evaluation important?

Organisations use monitoring and evaluation for two key purposes:

  • to learn about their own activities and results, and to support internal planning and development
  • to be accountable to their stakeholders.

Organisations need evidence of their efficiency and effectiveness for funders, commissioners and investors. They also need to communicate achievements to a wider public. Charities are now specifically required by SORP (the charity accounting standards) to report the achievements of the charity over the year. However, the role of monitoring and evaluation in providing learning and in improving the organisation is of equal importance.

Monitoring and evaluation cycle
Monitoring and evaluation cycle
There are four key phases in the monitoring and evaluation cycle
 
Planning for monitoring and evaluation
Planning for monitoring and evaluation
An introduction the first stage of the monitoring and evaluation cycle – planning
 
Monitoring
Monitoring
An introduction the second stage of the monitoring and evaluation cycle – monitoring
 
Evaluation
Evaluation
An introduction the third stage of the monitoring and evaluation cycle – internal and external evaluation
 
Using monitoring and evaluation to learn and improve
Using monitoring and evaluation to learn and improve
An introduction the fourth stage of the monitoring and evaluation cycle – using monitoring and evaluation findings
 
CES Planning Triangle
CES Planning Triangle©
The CES planning triangle is a useful tool that can be a good way to picture what you do and why. The CES planning triangle does this by helping an organisation or project to organise its aims and objectives. The CES planning triangle helps you to see, how what an organisation does (your objectives) can lead to changes (your aims) by clearly showing how your aims and objectives relate to the impact, outcomes and outputs of your work.
 

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