It is a common misperception that evaluation starts only at the end of a project. Though evaluation is the focus of Step 5 of the SPF, it should be considered during each preceding step. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation are essential to determine whether your desired outcomes are achieved and to assess the effectiveness and impact of your intervention and the quality of service delivery. Data collection for evaluation purposes should be built into the project design and should be part of your strategic plan. Your evaluation will ultimately affect the sustainability of your intervention.
You will need to make plans to collect baseline information before implementing your intervention and to track outcomes over time by collecting quantitative and qualitative data. In addition, you should have a plan for securing and maintaining the commitment of community members, agencies, and other strategic partners who will be involved in the evaluation. By fostering relationships among all the partners involved, it is more likely that they will be inclined to provide political support, cooperation, volunteers, and other resources on a long-term, ongoing basis. Your evaluation plan will also monitor how well your group is functioning and identify areas for improvement.