Achieving positive, meaningful and lasting social outcomes and impact is the most important function of any charity or socially focused organisation. It is the very reason they exist. Monitoring the extent to which your projects and programmes are being delivered according to plan, and evaluating their strengths and potential areas of improvement, is essential if your activities are going achieve your desired outcomes.
Monitoring is the process of collecting information on all of your activities (e.g. what has been delivered, what supplies have been used, how much has been spent, what reporting has been done etc.). Monitoring allows you to make quick changes if things are not going according to plan.
Evaluation is the process of tracking whether an activity has met its desired goals, such as creating social outcomes or impact (e.g. gaining a job, creating new friendships, learning a new skill etc.). Relevant information, where possible, should be collected before and after the activity to gain a sense of the effect it has had. Evaluating this information helps with identifying what activity has achieved its social goals, and what changes can be made in future to improve an activity’s effectiveness.
Tools and resources
An evaluation can only be carried out effectively if you are collecting useful information that allows you to measure the difference the activity has made to their lives. Evaluation Support Scotland offers a wide range of resources to help you to do this. KCSC also provides support to create tailored monitoring and evaluation systems for organisations operating in Kensington and Chelsea. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The term 'quality assurance system' is used for specific programmes or frameworks, which have been developed to ensure the work and management of an organisation or company is carried out to an officially recognised standard. It means carrying out planned and systematic activities so that 'quality' requirements for a service are fulfilled.
There are a wide range of quality assurance systems, from the very formal (e.g. Investors In People), where your organisation is usually scrutinised and assessed by an external consultant, to the more flexible ones based on self-assessment (e.g. Trusted charity).