By: Joshua Carter
Grants can be vital for ensuring that projects get the funding they need without the heavy burden of debt. Government and private organizations can provide grants to other organizations or individuals who meet project requirements that they take an interest in. A thoughtful evaluation of your grant proposal can significantly improve the likelihood of getting approved.
What is a project evaluation?
While not all grant proposals require an evaluation plan, it’s still a good idea to develop one. The project evaluation plan is your way of communicating to the grant-funding organization not only how the money will be spent, but what specific milestones the project will reach and when. It communicates to the entity providing the grant that the money will be spent by a beneficiary with a workable plan rather than simply disappearing into the ether.
There are two main types of project evaluations: formative and summative. Formative evaluations address how well the project is currently working. This evaluation occurs while the project is in progress. Summative evaluations take place after a project is complete and address whether the proposed objectives were met. It is important to note that both types of evaluations can be conducted and that we recommend conducting both formative and summative for maximum effectiveness.
Why do you need one?
A project evaluation will be stipulated in the grant requirements. Even if it is not listed in those requirements, it is generally considered good practice to include a project evaluation plan within your proposal regardless. A project evaluation determines how you will evaluate the success of a grant-funded project. The evaluation process breaks down the project into a series of steps from preparation to implementation that will allow the grant provider to get a coherent idea of what your project seeks to accomplish, and when they can expect those steps to come to fruition. Having an effective grant evaluation plan can also help you see what worked and what didn’t to improve your project plan in the future.
What should you include?
The project evaluation should include several key aspects.
- Include a high-level overview.
- This high-level overview should identify the goals of the project and the key evaluation points. This helps to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are on the same page.
- Break the project down into key actionable milestones or outputs and expected outcomes.
- These may be divided further into short-term or long-term goals, but should all be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). The evaluation design for determining whether these goals have been met should highlight useful information about the project’s overall objectives and address any relevant concerns that stakeholders might have.
- Include a means by which the evaluator can collect and analyze relevant data as it relates to project completion.
- Data is typically broken into quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative as you may have guessed is data that can be counted or measured in numerical value. Qualitative data describes qualities or characteristics which are usually conducted through questionnaires, interviews, or observations. It is also good to contain a contingency plan to address the possibility of goals and milestones not being met on time.
At The Limitless Program Consulting Group, we specialize in project management and grant oversight. If you need to write a project evaluation as part of your proposal, contact us today to find out how our skilled team can help!