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.