Reporting is an important part of SPI's programming. We ask everyone to complete our partner survey, and depending on your program, we may also ask you to write a narrative report. Surveys and reports help us learn about your program, your goals, and how successful you've been at achieving those goals.
Your report also helps us to show our funders that we are using their money wisely. The seeds and support your program receives may have been paid for by donations from individual donors, businesses, or other charities. Just as you have to report to SPI, we have to report to our supporters and funders. If we can show that your program is a good investment, we can make a case for future funding for your program.
Why does the SPI want a report?
- We need to know how the seeds were distributed.
- We need to show our funders that we are using their money wisely.
- We want to make sure that both SPI and our partners are achieving their goals.
- Businesses that support our programs want good examples of projects that align with their own values so that they can get more funding to give to more projects in future.
- If your program reporting demonstrates that you are a good organization to fund, you will have a better chance of being funded again in future.
Why is program reporting useful for your group?
Evaluating your project can be really useful for your group. You need to give the funder the information they want, but the process of preparing an evaluation report can help you think about what worked, what didn’t work, and what you would do differently next time.
Try to involve as many people as possible in doing the report, as this will help get more ideas about the successes of your project and the problems you have faced. Remember what you’ve learned from these discussions when you are planning for the future so you can build on your successes and improve your program.
Before you start:
Check what you said you were going to do. Don’t panic if what you have actually done is slightly different from your original plans – we understand that plans change a bit as you go along.
Discuss the evaluation report with your group.
Your report will contain more useful information if you get ideas from a range of people. Discuss it at your staff and program participant meetings.
- What do the staff and participants think was particularly successful about the project?
- What problems were encountered along the way?
- What did you do to solve problems?
- Did the seed distribution and trainings happen exactly as you planned? If not, why not?
- Did you make changes or improvements to your planned project along the way?
- What were the benefits of the project to the people who were involved?
- What, if anything, would you do differently in future?
Writing Your Evaluation Report
Follow the steps below to write your report.
1. Describe what you did.
This should be a short description of your activities. Include figures showing how many people and groups received seeds, how many extension visits or trainings you held, and how many people attended your programs. For example:
“We organized a total of 12 extension visits to Bong and Lofa Counties. A total of 50 farmers attended these sessions, 25 men and 25 women.”
“We organized a nutrition and food preparation training which took place on 16th May 2016. The party was attended by 49 people in total, 3 of whom had not been involved with our group in the past.”
If your program is focused on running activities for a particular group of people, such as women or Ebola survivors, you should include information about how many people from that group took part.
2. Include any changes to your original plan.
It is quite common to make changes to your project plan as you go along. It’s difficult to know in advance exactly how things are going to work out. You might choose to change things if you work out a better way of doing them, or in response to requests from people taking part.
It is important to be open and honest about changes to your program. It shows you are trustworthy, and may also be an opportunity to show how the changes have been positive. For example:
“We originally planned to provide business planning training. However, after six weeks we had very few people taking part in business planning training, and nutrition training was full to capacity. In order to include as many people as possible and respond to the interests of the community, we decided to cancel the business planning training and run two weekly nutrition sessions instead.”
3. Explain how you collected information about your success.
Briefly describe what you did to collect information about how your work was going. This might include counting the number of people that took part, and asking them how your project benefited them.
“We kept a record of how many women and men attended each session.”
“We carried out a survey at the beginning and end of the project, so that we could measure how people felt about vegetable gardening and nutrition before and after they had attended the training.”
4. Tell us whether, and how, you achieved your goals.
Look back at your project goals and state whether you achieved your goals, and give any evidence you have. Make sure you also explain how your project matched up with SPI’s goals. For example, if you received seeds or other resources for your women’s empowerment project, explain how your project benefited women. Be sure to include a description of both the program goals and how you achieved those goals.
5. Account for how you spent the grant funds.
You need to provide a breakdown of how you have spent the grant money. If there is anything significantly different between how you said you would spend the grant and how it was actually spent, make sure you explain why it was different. For example:
$20 Contract Nutrition Trainer
$20 Training Materials
“We originally budgeted $20 for the Venue and $20 for Refreshments, but we decided to use a larger venue so more people could attend the training. The larger venue was $30, so we took money out of Refreshments and put it into Venue.”
6. Share photos, quotes, and other evidence from your project.
Photos, quotes, and other evidence of your work show the funder how much your community benefited from the project and brightens up your report. Sometimes photos are the only way for funders to visually connect with the work you’re doing. A good photo can change how someone feels about your report, so think about how you want other people to see your work and participants. This is a great way to tell your story!
Good photo examples include: seeds being distributed, land being cleared, planting activities, tending gardens, and harvest and market activities. If your project involved training people, you could include group pictures and a copy of a certificate. Remember to ask permission to use a photo from the people in the photo.
Quotes are also a great way of showing how much the project meant to people. If you conduct a survey, include a question which asks people to say why the project is important to them, or why they participate in the group activities and trainings. You can then use these quotes in your report. If you haven’t done a survey, you could ask a few people from the group to tell you what the project meant to them, and write down what they say.
Quotes that directly relate to the program goals and the impact of the program are best. Otherwise, a quote that shares how the project was important someone is good.
Example: “I really enjoy gardening. Since we just had our first baby girl, it has been so nice to be able to produce fresh vegetables for our family. Sometimes we eat the vegetables and if there are too many we sell it to others in the neighborhood. This allows us to save a little money to purchase other items that we need. Last yield, we harvested so many different variety types: cauliflower, zucchini, cabbage, and eggplant. You know what my favorite part of having a garden has been? Well, it is truly seeing that you are produce something from seed to vegetable. How beautiful it is to see the plant grow and turn into something that is edible. It makes me happy to be able to provide for my family.” - Mme. Jinja, Toamasina, Madagascar
Finish off your report with a short concluding statement that sums up what you have said and ends on a positive note. You can also mention the kinds of things you are thinking of doing in future. This is particularly important if you are hoping to receive additional support in the future. For example:
“As you can see, the seeds and funding you have provided has been very important for our group. We have run a successful project and this has really improved things for a lot of people in our community.”
“The seeds and funding you have provided our program has allowed us to build up our program and get more people involved. We have developed successful activities which we will continue in future. We have also gained valuable experience which will help us run new activities in the coming year. Our plan is to increase the number of training provided, so that we attract a wider range of people, and to focus especially on activities that are focused on women’s empowerment.”