Writing grants: Focusing on evaluationPublished 10:51am Monday, November 21, 2011
In the last article we shared the steps for developing the fourth step of the proposal process – the method section. In this article we will continue to talk about the steps for writing a successful grant, but focusing on the evaluation section of the Narrative.
Now that you have written your method section for the program or project that you are seeking funding for the next step in the grant narrative is the evaluation section. In this section you will walk the funder through how you will evaluate your program’s accomplishments.
Remember that funders want to know that their dollars actually did some good. So, you will now decide how to evaluate the impact of your project to deliver these accomplishments to the funder. In the evaluation section you will include what records you will keep or data you will collect, and how you will use these data. Also don’t forget if the data collection costs your organization money, be sure to include that cost in your budget
Things to consider when writing your evaluation section include the following components. Decide whether you are going to use your organizations staff to conduct the evaluation or hire an outside consultant to do this part of the grant when awarded. Rule of thumb for this budget item is that foundation will often allow you to designate 5-10 percent of the total project budget for evaluation cost. When designing your evaluation also think about the reasons for evaluation and ask your self the following two questions, did we actually do what we set out to do? And if the methods specified were used, did we meet the objectives?
Additional items to consider when writing your evaluation plan/section.
• Was an impact made that identified the need?
• Will we obtain feedback for the constituents served and from other members of the service community?
• Will we maintain control over the project with evaluation being sought at different points throughout the grant cycle.?
• Will we have enough flexibility to make changes, if needed, in the program to insure the program’s success?
Final questions to ask yourself before finalizing the evaluation section. First, what is the overall evaluation’s purpose? Second, how will we use these findings? Third, what will our organization know after the evaluation that they did not know before? Fourth, what will we do as a result of the evaluation that we could not do before due to the lack of information? Fifth, how will our constituents and the community be better served as a result of this grant?
The next article will continue the steps for writing the grant, focusing on the fifth step of the proposal – the Sustainability Section.