To evaluate means to assess the quality or the progress. In grant proposal writing, evaluation means considering the progress made in achieving the objectives set for the project. For this to happen successfully, the objectives set need to be measurable, and the applicant needs to formulate or develop criteria for making this assessment.
In the context of a grant proposal, evaluation could be done by experts outside an organization, or by experts from within the organization. The key in evaluation is making sure that the body of evaluation has a degree of objectivity.
The methods of evaluation vary based on the nature of the project. They include interviews, observation, standardized tests, and questionnaires among others. Evaluation takes two approaches:
- Process evaluation– it assesses the consistency in following the plan of action for different activities highlighted in the grant proposal.
- Product evaluation– it assesses if the results attained are in line with the objectives of the project.
Although formulating or coming up with criteria for evaluation can come at the beginning of the project, middle and the end of a project, it is advisable to have it at the beginning for the following reasons:
- A credible evaluation must be formed from the foundation of the project and during the operations of the program.
- Preparing an evaluation design from the onset of the program helps in assessing the systematic progress of the project.
The importance of coming up with a good evaluation design cannot be overruled; it is easy and cheap to modify where need be. To come up with a good evaluation design, the problem needs to be well defined, to have a clear understanding of cause and effect relationship, or determine the suitability of conducting a pilot project.
NB– the evaluation design stated in the grant proposal should be written simply and clearly, that all answers are provided.