Grant Applicants - Program Guidelines

Incorporating Evaluation into Your Project Proposal

Your proposed plan for project evaluation is a significant element in the review process. We expect your detailed project work plan and your project budget to include specific and sufficient resources dedicated to evaluation activities. Examples of relevant costs associated with evaluation include payments for consultants or qualified project staff, development of effective instruments, information collection, and analysis of project data. We expect you to include the costs of evaluation, reporting, and sharing project results in your project budget. You may budget any of these as direct costs or as cost share. Keep in mind that effective evaluation strategies often use multiple techniques not just to measure and analyze final project outputs and outcomes but also to inform and help shape your project design as the project progresses.

Your evaluation plan should

  • be clearly linked to a need stated in your proposal,
  • identify the intended primary beneficiaries (people or organizations) of the project,
  • explain what changes would indicate that the project is effectively addressing the stated need or challenge and what data will be collected to help determine whether these changes are occurring,
  • indicate what methods will be used to analyze collected data and to judge the overall effectiveness of the project,
  • include activities that help the project manager monitor the project’s effectiveness during the project so that needed changes can be made as new understanding emerges,
  • describe the qualifications of staff and consultants involved in evaluation activities, and
  • explain how insights gained through evaluation activities will be shared both within the project team and with the outside world.

Your proposal narrative should address as many of these points as possible. If you do not have all of this information at the time you submit a grant application, your proposal should explain how you will obtain it if the project is funded by IMLS.