A good monitoring framework helps you collect relevant information in the implementation of your project. So that you can know how you are doing and what to adjust, if necessary, to do better. At the end of your project, it is time to zoom out a bit and evaluate the project as a whole. To learn about the design and the implementation process as well as the results and impact created by the project. So what questions to ask in your evaluation?

Evaluation areas of attention

If you look at reports of external evaluations, you will see that most evaluations focus on: Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact, Innovation and Sustainability (of the project results and impact). And for each of these areas, several questions are formulated and answered in the evaluation.

Keep it simple

If you are just starting out, and not commissioning an external evaluation, I recommend keeping it simple.

You might want to cluster questions around: design, implementation process, and results of your project.

So what could you ask? 

Two sets of key questions you can use as starting point are:

  • What worked and should we keep? Why? How?
  • What would we do differently next time & improve? Why? How?



See how that could work

You can apply these questions to the design of your project:

  • Which parts of our intervention logic or theory of change worked out as we thought? Which parts of our logic were not true in reality? Why is that? How can we adjust our intervention logic or theory of change to be more realistic or on point?

But they also apply to your implementation process:

  • What did we like doing and went well? Why is that? How can we preserve that energy?
  • What went well in the team communication? Why? How can we make sure to do that the same in the next project?

And they work also when looking at your results:

  • What did we achieve that is valuable? Why is it valuable? How can we keep it?
  • What unexpected results did we achieve? Why? How can we integrate these results in our plan next time?


You can expand your sets of questions by adding:

  • What should we stop investing time and energy in? Why? How?
  • What could we start doing? Why? How?

These sets of questions may help you zoom out a bit further. These questions may also help you take more radical standpoints on what you have done and may do in future. For example, you may have projects with very similar or even the same activities. Cleaning actions. Football tournaments. Math’s classes. You can ask yourself: should we stop doing this? Why? Or, formulated differently: can we think of a reason why we might not want to continue these activities? The answer could be, perhaps another activity could achieve the goal of a clean forest better. Etc.

How I can help

Grab my free resource Build a Solid Base for your nonprofit: https://www.changingtides.eu/3-steps-to-a-solid-base-for-your-nonprofit/

If you would like simple steps to set up and organise your finance & admin foundations guidance by me, you can get a bundle of six simple and short workshops here: https://www.changingtides.eu/financeandadminbundle

Here is how I can help you design better projects, including better budgets, to achieve real impact for the community or cause you serve:

  • If you would like a structured approach with easy steps and guidance by me to go  from a great idea to an effective project design, that has community support and a workable budget, you can join my Course Project Design for nonprofits here: https://www.changingtides.eu/projectdesign

Want to know more and ask questions? 

If you want to discuss this more – jump into my nonprofit support community and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free nonprofit support community

You can join my free nonprofit support community on the Heartbeat  platform here. This group is a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc.

You can visit the community via a browser or via an app. Here is the link to download the Heartbeat chat app in the Google Play store.

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