The Why, What, When and How?
Monitoring & Evaluation:
Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC
Useful information and links
Q: Why do you need to monitor and evaluate your project?
There are three main reasons:
1. We (and you!) need to know what progress you’re making in terms of delivering your project
2. We (and you!) need to know what difference your project is making.
3. We want to learn from the experience of delivering your project
We need to know what difference the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund is making in the area. To do that, we need the projects that have been funded to tell us what they’ve achieved.
The important thing to note is that monitoring, and evaluation are positive things. They will help you to manage and deliver your project, measure the difference your project has made and then tell people about it!
Q: What’s the difference between monitoring and evaluation?
Monitoring is the collection and analysis of information about a project, undertaken while the project is ongoing. Monitoring data is usually reported to funders (and/or managers within your organisation) to demonstrate the progress that you’re making. Monitoring data answers questions such as:
- What progress has the project made in terms of undertaking its activities?
- How much money has been spent so far?
- If the project progressing as planned?
Monitoring data also feeds into the evaluation of a project.
Evaluation is the about judging how successful a project has been; finding out whether a project has met its objectives. Evaluations are undertaken for various reasons, but the focus is usually on find out what difference your project has made. Questions asked as part of an evaluation include:
- What difference did this project make, to who and why?
- What worked well, for whom, in what circumstances, at what time and why?
- Did anything happen that wasn’t expected to happen?
- If you were to run this project again, what might you do differently?
- Is the project on track to meet its desired outcomes?
- Is the project demonstrating value for money?
Q: Are there different types of evaluation?
Yes, there are several different kinds of evaluation:
a. Process evaluation – how was the project delivered?
This looks at how a project has been delivered identifying things that have helped or hindered it. Examples of the questions answered by process evaluations include:
- What did people taking part and/or staff feel worked or didn’t in delivering the project, why and how?
- Which aspects of the project were most valued or caused difficulties? Was this different for different groups of people?
- Who took part in the project, who didn’t or dropped out, and why?
- With hindsight, how could the project be improved? What would you or could you do differently?
What to find out more? Interested in how to undertake a process evaluation? PDF
b. Outcome & Impact evaluation – what difference did the project make?
This finds out whether a project caused a particular outcome or impact to happen. Ideally, it needs to consider what would have happened anyway (if the project did not exist – sometimes called a ‘counterfactual’) as well as what has happened as a result of the support provided.
What to find out more? Interested in how to undertake an outcomes and impact evaluation? PDF
Some stuff that you may find useful
There’s lots of useful information out there…
Profiling Places Wales: This tool provides a range of information about towns and places across Wales. It’s really useful if you need statistics about an area: http://www.profilingplaces.wales/chooseplaces.aspx
Understanding Welsh Places: another tool which provides lots of useful information about places. This site presents information on the economy, demographic make-up and local services of more than 300 places in Wales in a quick and easy format: http://uwp.uksouth.cloudapp.azure.com/en/
Thriving Places Wales is based on Happy City’s ground-breaking Thriving Places Index, which measures how well areas are doing at growing the conditions for equitable, sustainable wellbeing. It could be useful if you’re looking for some statistics at a Local Authority level: http://www.thrivingplaces.wales/default?lang=en-GB
InfoBase Cymru: Need a statistic? You can probably find it here: http://www.infobasecymru.net/IAS/eng
NOMIS: a service provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to give you free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources. You can type in a name of a post-code to see (and download) all the latest stats on population, age structure, unemployment, etc. https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/
Thinking about different ways to collect information for your evaluation? https://www.betterevaluation.org/en/rainbow_framework/describe/collect_retrieve_data
Want to design a questionnaire? https://www.betterevaluation.org/en/evaluation-options/questionnaire Want to undertake a quick online survey for free? Try Google Forms https://www.google.co.uk/forms/about/
Want further guidance on evaluation? Take a look at https://www.data.cymru/eng/evaluation or https://www.betterevaluation.org/en
There’s lots of guidance and resources to help you undertake an evaluation here: http://www.evaluationsupportscotland.org.uk/. This is the Heritage Lottery’s guidance on evaluation: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/publications/evaluation-guidance
This is a useful report looking at how charities use their evidence to boost their influence and impact:
There’s even more guidance and tools that could help you available here: https://www.smallcharities.org.uk/resources-evaluation-impact/