Program evaluation continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of the grantmaking process. While there are many approaches to evaluation, this publication focuses on participatoryapproaches. Given the decrease of funding and increased focus on accountability, funders are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are using their dollars strategically.
Funders have different priorities as they approach evaluation. Some are concerned with assessment, others are committed to using evaluation as a learning tool, while still others see capacity-building as central to their mission. Whatever the focus, a participatory approach can helpfunders achieve their goals. A well-planned, inclusive process can build knowledge among the grantees, the grantmaking institution and the broader field.
An evaluation that adds the perspectives of the primary stakeholders in the grant's success - the beneficiaries - gives the funder vital information concerning the extent to which the grant is meeting its goals. By including the beneficiaries in the process it enables them to identifyproblems within the program and to provide potential solutions to these challenges.
The information and resources contained in this publication have been provided to assist you in selecting an evaluation process that will help you achieve your goals. The tools and strategies suggested have allowed many foundations across the country to increase the impact of their grantmaking and improve relationships between grantors and grantees.