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Key definitions

Monitoring is the systematic collection and analysis of information as a campaign progresses. It is based on the targets and activities set during campaign planning. An essential management tool, monitoring helps to keep the campaign on track, and lets campaign management know what should be changed (if necessary) when things go right or wrong. It enables the campaign team to determine whether the resources available are sufficient and being well-used, whether capacity is sufficient and appropriate, and whether planned activities are being implemented. (Adapted from Shapiro, J., Monitoring and Evaluation, CIVICUS).

Monitoring usually focuses on processes, e.g. when and where activities occur, who delivers which activities, to what effect, and how many persons or institutions have been reached. In campaigns, external factors need to be monitored as well for swift identification of new risks and opportunities. Monitoring is essential to ensure the campaign produces the outcomes intended, and to detect and react to any changes or challenges quickly and effectively.

Bear in mind: A social change campaign’s activities unfold principally in complex situations in which the relationships of cause and effect are unknown until results, and especially outcomes, emerge. In this situation, it is important to monitor systematically and regularly the social actors you want to influence in order to identify the real changes they have experienced and understand which strategies have contributed to those changes. 

Evaluation

Evaluation is the systematic assessment of an activity, project, programme, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector, operational area or institution’s performance. Campaign evaluation focuses on expected and achieved accomplishments compared against the campaign strategy, in order to understand achievements or the lack of achievements. (Adapted from Gage and Dunn, 2009).

Based on evidence of what has been done and achieved regarding strategy, targets and desired outcomes, formative evaluation supports decisions on how to improve the implementation of the campaign’s theory of change. It is convenient to combine formative evaluation with monitoring to understand what has been achieved in order to improve performance and enhance the achievement of new outcomes. That is, knowing who the campaign has successfully influenced to change, and through which strategies, makes it possible to modify the plan of campaigning action for the following months or year(s). Summative evaluation occurs at the end of a campaign or a major campaign cycle, and its purpose is to make judgments on the extent to which the campaign’s theory of change has proven to be valid.

Effectiveness, efficiency and impact

What monitoring and evaluation have in common is that they are geared towards learning, by focusing on efficiency, effectiveness and impact.

Efficiency means that the input into the work is appropriate in terms of the output. This could be input in terms of money, time, staff, equipment and other resources used for the campaign.

Effectiveness is a measure of the extent to which a campaign achieves appropriate outcomes and the specific objectives it set.

Impact is about the difference a campaign has made – or not – to the problem situation it has addressed. In other words, was the strategy useful in making progress towards the goal?  (Adapted from Shapiro, J., Monitoring and Evaluation, CIVICUS)