Help with learning
Some further tips on using information for learning
- Build in time for review of your monitoring information. This could for example include an annual meeting for project staff and stakeholders to review what has been achieved, what can be learnt from the monitoring information and what might be different in the future.
- Think about what higher-level learning there might be for your organisation. This might be learning about ways you plan and operate internally or with other partners. Are there ways you can build learning from this project into your organisation's performance management structure?
- Consider what kind of external communication opportunities your learning might offer - for example about the effectiveness of your project or organisation - that might support new partnerships or funding bids.
- In many cases and particularly if you are using statistics that come from outside your project, it may not be clear how far your project has caused those changes and how far other factors have contributed. Try and be as clear as you can about the role of your project in achieving the changes.
- External factors and changes may help or hinder your project's performance - or just the reliability of your outcomes and measures. For instance, a new government programme might change the whole basis of need and the range of services available. Work with your funder to review your plans if this happens.
- Sometimes you will have worked with other organisations to achieve outcomes. If you can, report on this to funders and give evidence about how working together has led to stronger outcomes.
- If you change your plans, this does not mean that you have failed. Funders are likely to view it positively if you identify circumstances affecting your project, plan a flexible response to ensure that your project meets its overall aim, and make a good case for changes. Keeping details of how you have learned and responded in this way may also help you to make a stronger case to potential future funders.
- Carry out your self-evaluation so that findings can feed into your yearly planning. The information that you have will be more relevant and you will be better placed to make informed decisions about the future.