Best practices for monitoring & evaluation
Regardless of your business, monitoring and evaluation, M&E will make up a large chunk of your expenses and your activities. It is important to monitor your projects to see if they are viable and to see where you can make some changes. The evaluation will allow you to track the successes and failures of projects you implement. Since Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also broken down into projects, it means you need to keep an eye on the progress of these projects to see if they are working as intended. In the following article, we will look at how you can incorporate M&E into your CSR projects and try to improve your results or make necessary changes as needed.
How To Use Monitoring & Evaluation For Your CSR Projects
M&E guides are generally straightforward. Most of the same principles will apply to almost any project you are looking to monitor. However, CSR can be more complicated due to the emotional nature of these projects and their goal to help the local community. Here are a few M&E tips to help you with Corporate Social Responsibility projects:
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
While this might sound like a cliché to many people, you will need to start by planning your CSR programs. Instead of making decisions on a whim, you will have the opportunity before implementation to do some research. Market research is done to see how the community is likely to react and can give you a basis to compare your data.
Regular Performance Assessments
Instead of leaving the CSR program to run its course, you can create a plan beforehand to monitor the progress of the program. In the early phases of these programs, the results might not add up, but having a curve of performance to compare data to every couple of weeks will give you a clear indication of your overall program performance.
If you have started a community project that helps the community in some way or another, you might want to take a random date to perform an early evaluation. Since you will have some projected data from the prior planning, you can compare these two sets. It will help you adjust your expectations or perhaps end projects that do not give you results much earlier.
When it comes to an internal audit, many people might fear the phrase. However, you will need to turn inwards and focus on yourself and your business at some point during the CSR program. The internal audit aims to assess that everyone is working with the same plan. You will likely identify weak links on the chain or over-performers with this process.
CSR Project Efficiency
One of the hard realities is that not all CSR projects will be successful. You will need to monitor the efficiency to see if the program is viable and achieving the intended results. During this process, you might come across programs that are exceeding expectations and others that are not working. You can now decide to direct your resources to those effective programs.
Since not every business is considered a charity, it is recommended that you get something in return for your CSR programs. Your M&E process should allow you to see how sustainable these projects are and if they have the intended benefit. You will need to know when it is time to pull the plug on projects that is not beneficial to your organization.
Evaluation Before Reimplementation
Many CSR projects are a major success and people tend to re-implement them without thinking about future results. Additionally, organizations can hold onto programs long past their expiration date. It is best to set up a time and date for a full evaluation. This can be the end date of the project and give you the results to see if it is viable to implement the same project again. In many cases, you can implement the same project repeatedly with a few minor changes.
Once you have incorporated Monitoring & Evaluation into your CSR projects, you will notice a big difference in your performance. These CSR programs might be more effective and their viability will be what propels your organization to implement even more. Let us know in the comment section if you have found these tips helpful.
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