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Monitoring and evaluation: the basics

Definitions of monitoring and evaluation and why it is important in improving the performance of your non profit or charitable organisation.

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.

Evaluation is about making judgements about the value of any component part of an organisation or its products, services or benefits, or about the organisation as a whole.

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

Why is 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 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. 

The monitoring and evaluation cycle

There are four key phases in the monitoring and evaluation cycle:

Monitoring and evaluation planning cycle

Description of the diagram

The four stages of monitoring and evaluation - planning, monitoring, evaluation, using the findings - are represented as a continuous cycle.

Useful links

Further reading

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