Monitoring and Evaluation
With our roots in data, we help prove and improve outcomes through practical, cost-effective, and rigorous approaches to impact evaluation and performance monitoring.
Achieving and identifying impact in the social sector is complex. And there are a wide variety of reasons to measure, each with its own considerations and approaches. So when it comes to measurement, we firmly believe that one size does not fit all. We work with our clients to collect and analyze the right data in the right ways at the right time—to know both what impact they are having and how they can improve in real-time, not just in retrospect. And in doing so, we find the right balance between rigorous methodologies and the real resources and capabilities of our clients.
Our monitoring and evaluation services include the following.
Nearly every organization knows it needs more measurement, but most struggle to know what and how to measure, not to mention how to use the information to improve. By tapping our team’s wide range of operational, strategic, and measurement expertise, we help you sort through the academic and arcane that typically dominates measurement discussions to answer a few crucial questions:
- What do we want measurement to do for us? How do we want measurement to help us succeed?
- What outcomes and activities do we need to measure and why?
- For each of these, how rigorously do we need to know what happened and what caused it?
- Given our current capabilities, what measurement activities should we prioritize now?
- Which measurement activities should we do internally vs. outsource?
- What investments do we need to make to achieve our optimal measurement data and capabilities 3-5 years from now?
- How will we change our management processes to ensure measurement data informs our decision-making?
Impact evaluation—determining what outcomes occurred and what caused them—is increasingly a must-have for mission-driven organizations. But many organizations view impact evaluations as a necessary evil—typically an expensive, cumbersome, multi-year exercise. However, there is a wide range of methodologies that allow your organization to find the right balance between causality and costs, validity and value.
As evaluation experts we pride ourselves on understanding these myriad methodologies inside and out, from RCTs and regression discontinuities to matched pairs and random roll-outs. But we’re also results-oriented enough to understand the value of a high-quality case study design and, perhaps most importantly, know when the level of rigor is just right. We work with you to understand why you need an impact evaluation before helping you navigate the full range of methodological tradeoffs, frequently pursuing an evaluation approach that’s less expensive, less intensive, and less lengthy than expected.
While impact evaluations are sometimes necessary, all mission-driven organizations should monitor their performance in key activities and outcomes. In fact, we typically recommend starting with performance monitoring before engaging in impact evaluations. Ranging from simple to complex systems, our team helps you figure out what few things need to be measured well, how to collect the data without causing undue burden, and how the ongoing data can be used to check progress and improve performance.
Data Collection & Analysis
Sometimes you know what you need to measure but aren’t sure how to get the data. Or, you’ve got the data but don’t know how to make sense of it. Whether as a one-off or an ongoing support, we can help. We have in-house experts who spend all their time gathering hard-to-collect data from hard-to-find populations and analyzing the information using a wide range of statistical techniques and packages (including R, SPSS, Stata, Tableau, and more).
Data Systems & Reporting
Whether you’ve gathered measurement data for a long time or are just ramping up, data that’s inaccessible is useless. Our IT and management experts can help determine the type of system you need to put your data to work at every level of the organization. In most cases, we can help you identify and adopt a ready-made solution. We can also help build custom systems for unique environments. Either way, our focus is helping you get the most out of your data with as little pain as possible.