If you are a nonprofit organization in the Cleveland area and haven’t yet visited the Foundation Center-Cleveland, consider checking out their website or stopping by (1422 Euclid Avenue Suite 1600, Cleveland, Ohio 44115) to take a look at their resources and meet their staff.

The Foundation Center-Cleveland is one of five library/learning centers operated by the Foundation Center, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York, whose mission is to strengthen the nonprofit sector by advancing knowledge about U.S. philanthropy. The Foundation Center regularly offers free classes to learn about key components of writing a proposal to a foundation. I had the opportunity to share information about the elements of effective evaluation sections for grant proposals during the April class.

You can download a copy of the presentation here: Program Evaluation Basics_Censeo Group

Key to effective evaluation planning is including evaluation components throughout the lifetime of a program. Needs assessment can help you engage community members and stakeholders in planning. Logic modeling conducted during the planning stage and reviewed over the course of a project, can help to clarify how program design will lead to expected outcomes. Conducting ongoing formative evaluation helps to understand program implementation and provides information for improvement. Summative evaluation, conducted at or near program conclusion, examines outcomes, demonstrates accountability to funders and other stakeholders, and provides a way to share information about your work. If a funder does not provide a template for an evaluation plan, consider describing each of the following in your plan: how you will engage stakeholders in the evaluation process, a description of your program elements, the evaluation design that you will use, data collection instruments, the process for data analysis, and how you will use and share lessons learned in your evaluation. These elements let a funder know that you will systematically examine your efforts to ensure effective program implementation and outcomes.