Purpose of EvaluationEvaluation provides you with the framework and tools to help you answer questions about the effectiveness of your work.
Evaluation can help you to:
- Describe the program, including how it operates, who is involved, what activities occur and at what cost, and whether the program is being implemented as planned.
- Document achievements and measure progress toward goals.
- Understand the program's strengths and identify areas for improvement.
- Determine the effectiveness of the program—i.e., is it producing the desired outcomes?
- Guide decision-making going forward, particularly about resource allocation.
- Market and disseminate effective approaches and programs that work.
Evaluation also helps you measure the extent to which your program meets the expectations of your funders and other stakeholders (people or organizations that have an interest in or are affected by your program). Funders want to know if their money is being well spent and achieving the desired results.
Ideally, evaluation is used not only for reporting progress to funders, but also for program improvement. Integrating evaluation into day-to-day operations can help your organization become a continuous learning organization. Again, evaluation can and should be integrated into the earliest stages of planning.