An understanding of how a grant program functions both in terms of effectiveness in delivering outcomes, and impacts of those outcomes is essential to inform strategic decision-making and the allocation of resources in any organisation.
Without a clear understanding of what’s working, and what’s not, it is not possible to improve. And without rigorous grant program evaluation, it is not possible to fully understand what is working well. For public sector bodies, there is an important additional need to demonstrate the impact of public funding and to help justify and understand ongoing or future initiatives.
Grant program evaluations are a demonstration of accountability. Well-designed grant program evaluations can help confirm or revise an understanding of business needs, and how we can best meet those needs through targeted support. Over time, as organisations build the evidence base, they can better design their activities to ensure maximum return from public funding.
For any new program a mini evaluation after the first round is essential – don’t wait for the end of a four year funding commitment to discover it’s not quite hitting the mark!