Fiveways’ checklist for planning an evaluation

15 ways to ensure your service evaluation is planned effectively

Evaluation is vital for charities that want to improve their services and demonstrate the difference they are making.

Poorly planned evaluations risk achieving neither of these things and waste time and money.

Fiveways has put together a checklist of key things to consider during the early stages of planning or commissioning a service evaluation.

If you can tick off these 15 items, you are ready to manage a successful evaluation which will deliver robust findings and give you the confidence to act on the results. Don’t commit resources until you can tick off everything on this list. A pdf of the checklist can be downloaded here

  1. I can articulate the changes we expect to make for those who use our service – typically changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills or behaviour
  2. I can explain why we want to do our evaluation
  3. I am clear who is responsible for delivering the evaluation, so is my manager, and so is my team
  4. I am confident those delivering the evaluation can produce findings free from bias
  5. I have engaged any funders, trustees or senior managers who have a stake in the evaluation, and understand their needs and requirements
  6. I have earmarked adequate time and money for the evaluation, to plan and design it, collect and analyse data, and report and present findings
  7. I am clear how we will involve any service users in designing the evaluation
  8. I have identified the key question(s) that the evaluation should answer
  9. I have considered any external factors that might influence the results of the evaluation and the extent to which change can be attributed to our service
  10. I have identified the different audiences whose perspectives we need to understand
  11. I have identified the data we need to answer our key questions, and know how we will collect it, who will collect it, and when it will be collected
  12. I have secured the necessary permissions to involve people in the evaluation, and understand our associated policies (e.g. data protection, confidentiality, ethics)
  13. I have considered the impact the evaluation might have on service users, and the safeguards needed to support those taking part
  14. I am clear about how the results of the evaluation will be used and communicated, including what we will do if they are not as positive as we had hoped
  15. I understand the possible risks to the successful delivery of the evaluation, and have a plan for mitigating their impact

Fiveways has worked with charities such as Bliss, CLIC Sargent and YoungMinds to plan and deliver successful evaluations of their information and support services.

If you are planning an evaluation and think we may be able to help, please email Richard Donaldson –