Evaluation is about learning about what works from your project and the model of change you are using. It focuses on understanding what change has happened for the beneficiaries and why. Nominet Trust focuses on measuring ‘outcomes’, the changes that your project has effected, rather than just what the project has produced.
A Theory of Change is a way of creating a step-by-step map of the changes your project will make. It identifies the overall goal of your project, and breaks down all the changes that need to happen to achieve it.
If you are at risk of not meeting your objectives, we need to be informed as soon as possible. We will ask you to identify the project risks and how you intend to mitigate these. We will offer support and advice where possible. We believe all projects are a learning process and innovation carries risk, so encourage transparency of reporting.
However, if appropriate, there are sanctions for non-delivery in our Funding Agreement, which we could invoke if necessary.
There are a variety of ways you could evaluate your project and what you choose will depend on the type of project you are running. It could include using questionnaires, interviews or specific evaluation tools. You may conduct the evaluation yourself or choose to use external evaluators. Our Evaluation Team at Nominet Trust can support you to design your evaluation strategy.
It can be helpful to try to step away from the specifics of project delivery for a moment and ask yourself: What changes do I want this project to make? How will be the participants (or wider community) be changed by this project? Outcomes should relate to the original need your project is trying to satisfy.
Outputs are the products of the project; they are often tangible deliverables that can be measured. For example, outputs might be the resources produced, number of downloads for an app, or number of people trained.
Outcomes are the specific changes that result from your project. This could include something participants learnt, a change in the participants’ behaviour, a change in the environment, or a change in society. Outcomes could be intended or unintended.
We have a standard Monitoring Form, which you will be asked to complete online at regular intervals during your project (e.g. quarterly). It asks how the project is progressing against your project plan and whether you are achieving the objectives you have set. We also ask for updated budgets so we can keep track of the investment.
We always encourage honesty in monitoring and evaluation. We recognise any project is a learning process and will undergo changes and adaptations as it progresses.
Firstly, we strongly believe that every project is a learning process, both for the project organisation and for Nominet Trust. Reflecting on how the project is progressing is a crucial part of effective project delivery. This means asking honest questions about what is and isn’t working, and most importantly, why.
Secondly, Nominet Trust has a responsibility to account for the investments we make. This means having a way of articulating and evidencing the activities and impact that our investments make in the world.