As a follow up to another discussion in the hub about funding evaluation, I’d like to start a discussion thread on budgeting for an evaluation.
As a start to the conversation, I want to share some basic info for those new to evaluation:
- Have a clear sense of the purpose and scope of your evaluation. What type of evaluation do you need? What’s the scope of the evaluation? The budget needed to understand if your training is effective will be less than if you want to assess if all your program offerings across the community for seniors are leading to decreased isolation.
- Include staffing and staff training costs. Do you have the skills within your organizations? Do want to develop those skills on your team or do you need to hire someone (bring on a new team member or hire a consultant)?
- Once you’ve developed your key evaluation questions (what you want need to learn from your evaluation - what do you need it to accomplish), consider what information you might need to collect to answer these questions, then ask yourself how you might collect that information.
- Engage your stakeholders in your evaluation. Include funds needed to bring people together to participate in your evaluation. If you’re expecting participants to travel or participate in long meetings, include transportation costs and refreshments for those meetings.
- Consider what materials, supplies, equipment, software and travel costs you’ll need to collect data. Some methods are more time and resource extensive than others. Plan ahead. When deciding which data collection method you might want to use (interview, survey, collecting stories, etc.) consider both the subject matter (how sensitive is it, how likely are people to be honest about it, is it easily measurable, etc.) and the people you need to collect data from (what are their needs, what’s the best way to engage them in this process).
- Include the cost of publishing and/or sharing your evaluation findings!
I want to continue the conversation, and try to get resources here to help nonprofits develop the budget that they need to adequately fund their evaluation. To help this space meet your needs, please share a challenge you encounter when budgeting for evaluation and/or any advice or resources that have helped you!