A: When accepting foundation grant dollars for your organization's programs and services, it is expected, and, in many cases, required, that you report to your foundation donors at the end of the grant period exactly what was accomplished, including a financial reporting of how the dollars were spent. Foundations are interested in receiving reported feedback about how your organization met the goals and objectives outlined in your proposal. Funding reports typically contain information about the overall success of the program along with detailed information about the activities offered to clients, your organization's methods (what did you do? what worked? what surprised you?), and progress made toward reaching the targeted outcome(s) or impact of the funded program.
What follows are a few online resources that provide more insight into program evaluation:
Aimed at the grantmaking community, the Evaluation Techniques Series at GrantCraft, a project of the Ford Foundation, includes information about several common evaluation techniques: participatory action research, collaborative inquiry, outcomes and evaluation, theory of change, collaborative inquiry, and ethnographic approaches to evaluation. Free registration is required to view the full-text documents.
To equip grantees with program evaluation skills for ensuring that their programs achieve their desired outcomes, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation makes available an Evaluation Toolkit, Evaluation Handbook, and additional resources.
The United Way's Outcome Measurement Resource Network offers information, documents, and resources for "identifying and measuring program- and community-level outcomes."
The Urban Institute and Center for What Works publication, Building a Common Outcome Framework to Measure Nonprofit Performance [PDF], suggests core indicators for 14 categories of nonprofit organizations and then expands the notion of common core indicators to a much wider variety of programs by suggesting a common framework of outcome indicators for all nonprofit programs.
To locate additional resources, search our Catalog of Nonprofit Literature on the subject "Program evaluations."
To learn how to measure the impact of your organization's programs, register for our seminar, Outcome Thinking and Management: Shifting Focus From Activities to Results.
Do you have a question? Ask Us.
(This post is from Katie Artzner, the Foundation Center's online librarian.)