by Jiten Patel

Nonprofit Collaboration & a word or two or three on M&E

Sep 10, 2009
Enterprise Applications

Nonprofit Collaboration & a word or two or three on M&E

Remember, from my previous blog, the first ray of hope for NGO collaboration was 

Recently came across a second ray of hope … small non-profit called NPOKI (Non Profit Organizations Knowledge Initiative) based in New York City … yes, the name is a mouthful (no, not New York City) and can get little tongue-tied trying to pronounce it, but don’t let that get in your way, and check out their newly designed website

It is a collaboration of international health organizations, funders, partners, and in-country nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The members are at the forefront of providing access to safe and affordable health services globally, including a focused response to the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

They do some great work. Some of their work has the potential for a wider, broader impact, i.e. can be leveraged by other NGO’s. I will be digging into their solutions further over the coming days and weeks. 

Just as in the for-profit sector, in the non-profit sector monitoring and evaluations is a critical element to not just better understand but more clearly understand how well the services provided by the non-profit organizations and to be able to show this through qualitative and quantitative measures and metrics.

What does monitoring and evaluation (M&E) mean? 

Monitoring can be defined as an observation system (collection of data, i.e. metrics) to verify how well activities/services are performing against plan. 

Evaluation is about making judgments about the value of any component part of an organization’s products and/or service (i.e. to compare the situation ex-ante and ex-post, and analyze the positive and/or negative changes).

Donors and funders often use other key terms (aims, objectives, inputs, outputs, outcomes, impact, indicators, etc) when they inquire/require monitoring and evaluation information.

Organizations use monitoring and evaluation for two key purposes:

  • to learn about their own activities and results, and to support internal planning and development
  • to be accountable to their stakeholders.

Organisations need evidence of their efficiency and effectiveness for their own internal purposes (to improve internal processes and practices), Board, donors, investors and for broader communications and public relations. 

There are four key phases in the monitoring and evaluation lifecycle:

  • planning for monitoring and evaluation
  • monitoring
  • evaluation
  • using the findings to learn and improve.

A number of non-profits are developing their own set of M&E metrics. However, there ought to be cooperation and collaboration to define a standard set of M&E metrics encompassing all nonprofit sectors, especially those in healthcare and other social development domains. This is where donors and investors can force the issue.