Many projects are undertaken by a consortium of organizations working together. Consider approaching your implementing partners to pool resources and carry out the evaluation jointly.
Working with partners can have a number of benefits. Implementing partners may have access to data, equipment, or venues. They might be able to appoint staff to work on the evaluation. Local partners often have the trust of the community that facilitates better data collection. Local partners may also add knowledge of the project and its context (including language and culture) that is vital to interpreting data and findings. Partners may also contribute technical skills and experience with specific evaluation options, and they may be able to reach broader audiences when disseminating findings.
Working with partners involves challenges, as well. The number of people making decisions multiplies, and you may have to invest more time reaching agreements and communicating throughout the process. With multiple stakeholders, the evaluation may need to accommodate a variety of purposes and information needs. If the evaluation focus is too broad or disparate, it may not be feasible to incorporate it into a coherent design.
At the InterAction 2011 Forum session ‘Impact Evaluation in Action,’ participants were invited to consider a recent impact evaluation they had been involved in, and to identify one thing that worked well, and one remaining challenge. One of the most striking aspects of the items is the strong emphasis on issues related to evaluation management – in particular, working with partner organizations to leverage the different resources needed for effective impact evaluation, including technical expertise and local credibility to open access to field sites. Read more here.
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The Pell Institute and Pathways to College Institute (2009). Create a Budget. Evaluation Toolkit. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://toolkit.pellinstitute.org/evaluation-guide/plan-budget/develop-a-budget/