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Using learning to improve your project

Reporting is not always enough

It is essential to look beyond the figures (and particularly unexpected ones) so that you can try to understand what has happened to make your project perform well or not so well. You should make sure that you take time to think about what the findings tell you and what you need to investigate further. You should also think about whether you have to take action to improve your project.

The information you collect can be used when you are developing yourstrategy and when you are assessing how well you're achieving your strategic and operational objectives. Information on your outcomes can help you make your work more effective, by helping you identify what works well and what you might change or improve.

If you don't achieve the outcomes you expected, you may need to:

  • Think about providing different services, or the same services in different ways
  • Reconsider what your project outcomes should be
  • Reconsider what your project aim should be
  • Reconsider how people can access your services
  • Seek further funding to enable you to deliver services better.

It can be useful to distinguish different groups of beneficiaries, and to collect outcomes information in a way that allows you to record and analyse the type and level of outcome achieved by these different groups. This will help you to answer questions such as:

  • Do young people under 15 achieve better outcomes than those over 15?
  • Do men achieve better outcomes than women?

If you have concerns about how you are doing, it is always worth discussing these with us or your other funders as soon as possible. It is best to show that you have considered any problems, why they have arisen, and what you can do about them. Sometimes there will be external factors that you could not have predicted and that are outside your control. Or you may find that some aspects of your work are proving unexpectedly popular and more successful than others. We want to work with you to deal with the unexpected and may be happy to negotiate changes to agreed outcomes.