Defining EvaluationEvaluation is the systematic collection of information about the activities, characteristics, and results of an organization's work in order to: make judgments, improve effectiveness, inform decisions, and/or increase understanding.
This toolkit primarily talks about program evaluation. The term "program" refers to any set of coordinated activities that an organization is undertaking in service to a goal. These activities could include direct services, policy advocacy, or external communications.
While the focus is on program evaluation, there is a case study on "organizational" evaluation that provides an example of how you can apply this framework to a more comprehensive evaluation of your organization.
Evaluation is a critical tool during planning and should not be thought of as something that is done after the program is up and running. In fact, incorporating evaluation into your thinking early on can help you design a program (or set of programs) that is more likely to deliver the results you want.