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Grant Writing Tip 5

Evaluation and Replication

Some grant programs may require that the applicant describe the plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the proposed project (the evaluation plan) and explain how the proposed project, or program, will be replicated on a larger scale to a wider population or throughout a greater region (the replication plan)?

Evaluation: Evidence of Effectiveness

When you request funds from a grant program, the administrators of the agency or Board of Trustees of the grant foundation will ask you to describe your plan for determining the effectiveness of your project. The following illustrate the types of information the grant program is seeking:

In determining the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project, one considers the following:

  • The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project.

  • The extent to which the methods of evaluation provide for examining the effectiveness of project implementation strategies.

  • The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data.

  • The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.

The above points clearly indicate that the evaluation must be designed to determine or assess the intended results of the project. In other words, the design of the evaluation must not merely examine the applicantís progress in implementing project activities, but more importantly determine if the goals and objectives are met. Letís illustrate this distinction with a simple scenario. A project proposes to offer parents a three-hour awareness workshop on new 8th grade graduation requirements. If the evaluation is merely a report on whether or not the workshop was held, then we do not know if it was effective in reaching its goal of increasing awareness among parents of 8th grade graduation requirements. A more appropriate evaluation plan would be to assess whether or not parents acquired information on the new graduation requirements by conducting a survey. The data from the survey indicates the degree to which parents acquired the information. The evaluation plan could also include brief interviews with each parent concerning the workshop. The results of this activity will help to demonstrate the parentsí feelings about the value of the awareness workshop.

When planning to develop a proposal, it is critical for the applicant to seek the assistance of professionals with expertise in designing and conducting evaluations. As a strategy, an applicant might gain evaluation expertise through collaboration with a partner organization with expertise in research and evaluation.

Replication

Some Request for Proposals may require an applicant to demonstrate how the proposed project may be replicated, to either a wider population or throughout a greater geographic region. For example, if the applicant proposes to create a drug intervention program for treating a specific population, you must first demonstrate as a result of the project evaluation that evidence has been gathered indicating the effectiveness of your specific drug intervention program for treating that specific group of persons. If the evaluation or study of your program does, in fact, demonstrate itís effectiveness as a drug intervention program for treating a specific group of persons, then one may assume that the program would be effective in treating other similar groups of persons. In short, demonstrating the replicability of your program begins by demonstrating the effectiveness of your program for treating a specific population.

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