Evaluation Report Guidelines
In addition to allowing the Foundation to provide oversight and fulfill its fiduciary responsibility for the grants it gives, an evaluation report provides an opportunity for reflection on what has been learned during the project. It is an opportunity for project staff to think about the program, its successes, next steps and lessons learned. Evaluation reports not only inform the Foundation of the project’s overall efforts, but also provide us with valuable learning experiences that enable us to improve our grantmaking and to help other non-profit organizations.
There are two types of evaluation reports. The year-end evaluation report is for grants that have multi-year funding and have completed a year’s worth of activities. A final evaluation report is the final summary following the end of a grant period.
The size and scope of the evaluation reports are largely a function of the size and scope of the project. The Foundation recognizes the time commitment involved in preparing thoughtful reports and seeks to balance the need for information with the demands on project staff. These guidelines are intended to provide some general guidance in preparing evaluation reports and to answer some commonly asked questions.
What information should be included in a year-end evaluation report?
Please include the contact person, the agency name, time period of the grant and grant number (which may be found in the grant agreement). Please inform the Foundation of any changes in address and phone numbers.
The year-end evaluation report should provide a summary of the project’s activities, successes, challenges, next steps, and a zero-balance accounting of expenditures.
In preparing the year-end evaluation report, include the following:
- Brief statement of project’s scope of work, goals and objectives for the past year;
- Identify any changes in the stated objectives and/or budget;
- Summarize the project’s activities;
- Discuss the project’s successes and challenges by highlighting accomplishments; problems and their solutions, and anecdotes; and
- Identify the project’s next steps.
What information should be included in a final evaluation report?
A final evaluation report should provide a summary statement that synthesizes the project’s accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned during the entire grant period. In addition, the final evaluation report should include an accounting of expenditures for the entire grant period.
In preparing the final evaluation report, the following should be addressed:
- Identify the lasting benefits of the project;
- Discuss whether the project was able to fulfill the goals as proposed;
- Describe problems the project encountered and discuss how they were addressed;
- Include outputs—direct and measurable products of a program’s activities or services (hours, number of people served or completed actions);
- Describe the outcomes—results or impact of activities or services (i.e.an increase in understanding, and improvements in desired behaviors or attitudes of participants) of the project (either positive or negative);
- Discuss what would be done differently if the project were to be repeated;
- Identify lessons learned from implementing the project; and
- Discuss the specific plans, if any, for continuing the work started by the project.
When are evaluation reports due?
Evaluation reports are due within two months of the completion of a year’s worth of activities or following the end of the grant period. Timely submission is considered in the Foundation’s evaluation of a grantee’s performance. Please see the Grant Agreement for the timetable of evaluation report submissions. If an evaluation report will be submitted late, please contact the Foundation and provide an anticipated delivery date. If the project has a scheduled payment, the payment will be held until the evaluation report has been received and approved.