What is M&E: An NGO’s Guide To Monitoring And Evaluation
As an NGO, there are a couple of important steps that you need to take before a project and during a project. Once you have a project setup, it might be running smoothly. However, this does not mean that it is viable or even working to the best of its abilities. The monitoring and evaluation strategy is one of the handiest ways that you can go about figuring it out. M&E requires data collection, analysis, and assessment to ensure your projects run on the track and evaluate if they got the desired results.
In the following guide, we will not be looking at monitoring and evaluation strategies, but we will go into some detail about the process of M&E. If you have never done monitoring and evaluation, you might be missing out quite a lot when it comes to making each project viable. The following guide will help you understand the basics of M&E.
NGO monitoring and evaluation for social projects
The following elements are what you will need to consider when it comes to evaluating your processes and making sure that everything is working as effectively as possible. While it could take you some time and resources to do this, you will find that it yields much better results and you have more control over each project.
Monitoring can be defined as a continuous process of data collection done once the project has been initiated.
Monitoring is close to evaluation, but its main focus is on collecting data at the input & output level of your Theory of Change. Monitoring is a continuous process and also allows the person to see in real-time what is going on. The word micromanage is a good synonym to give you an idea of how monitoring projects work to ensure they are performed smoothly.
Once you monitor a project, you will have real-time data for every process that is implemented. Much like the Covid-19 tracing application that constantly monitors the progress of the individual. Data collected from monitoring is available immediately and can help us assess the efficiency with which the project is implemented. Here are a few benefits:
- Regular Feedback: While generally done via application in the modern era, it all relates to real-time access.
- Immediate Intervention: Instead of having a problem simmer, the organizers can directly intervene when issues arise.
- Accurate Analysis: The analysis process can be much more accurate when you can constantly see all the data, improving decision making.
Evaluation usually comes after monitoring and requires you to collect Outcome level data. It is also advisable to record some baseline data before the project starts to be able to reliably compare and assess the success/failure of the project.
The combination of baseline data and actual results from the project will allow you to evaluate how effective the project was. Here are a few examples of how NGOs will use evaluation for some of their projects and how beneficial it could be.
- If the goal outcome was reached?
- How much of the outcomes can be attributed to the project implemented?
- What was the SROI?
What Are The Main Differences Between Monitoring And Evaluation?
Monitoring and evaluation can often be seen as the same thing. However, monitoring can be defined as real-time data collection information, which allows for immediate action. On the opposite end of the spectrum, evaluation is something that is done on specific occasions like after the project ends.
It is recommended that you implement both of them. Monitoring can give information, which will enable you to act on time and change the way your project in implemented if needed. While evaluation will give you a detailed assessment of your projects.
If you want to run a successful fundraising campaign or any form of a project aimed at helping the community, M&E is a must for you. If you want to understand monitoring and evaluation, it is best to hire an expert that could help you to ensure that everything is in order.
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