Evaluating Grant-Funded Programs and Projects: A Guide for Grantees

  • November 2, 2023

Evaluation in terms of grant funding is the process of assessing the effectiveness of a funded program or project. It typically involves collecting and analyzing data to determine whether the program or project met its goals and objectives and whether it had a positive impact on the target community.

What can evaluation do?

Evaluation can be used to improve the effectiveness of future funded programs and projects and to demonstrate accountability to the public and to funders. It can also be used to learn from successes and failures and to identify areas for improvement.

There are two main types of evaluation: formative and summative. Formative evaluation is conducted during the implementation of a program or project and provides feedback that can be used to make adjustments as needed. Summative evaluation is conducted at the end of a program or project and assesses the overall impact of the program or project.


There are a variety of methods that can be used to evaluate funded programs and projects. Some common methods include:

  • Surveys: Surveys can be used to collect data from participants, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Interviews: Interviews can be used to collect in-depth information from individuals.
  • Focus groups: Focus groups can be used to collect data from a group of people about their shared experiences.
  • Document review: Document review can be used to collect data from existing documents, such as program plans, reports, and financial records.
  • Observation: Observation can be used to collect data on how a program or project is being implemented and what impact it is having on participants.

The specific methods that are used to evaluate a funded program or project will depend on the goals of the evaluation, the resources available, and the type of program or project being evaluated.


Grantmakers often require grantees to conduct an evaluation of their grant-funded programs and projects. This is because funders want to ensure that their grants are being used effectively and that they are making a positive impact. However, even if a grantmaker does not require an evaluation, it is still a good practice to conduct one. Evaluation can help grantees to learn from their experiences and to improve their programs and projects.

Here are some of the benefits of conducting an evaluation of a grant-funded program or project:

  • Improved program or project effectiveness: Evaluation can help grantees identify areas where their programs or projects are working well and areas where they can be improved.
  • Increased accountability: Evaluation can help grantees demonstrate to grantmakers and to the public that they are using their grants effectively and that their programs and projects are having a positive impact.
  • Learning and growth: Evaluation can help grantees to learn from their experiences and to improve their programs and projects over time.

Overall, evaluation is an important tool for grantmakers and grantees alike. It can help to ensure that funds are being used effectively and that funded programs and projects are having a positive impact.

Need an evaluation firm or evaluator for grant-funded innovation-focused programs and projects? Your evaluation firm or evaluator should…

  • Be an experienced evaluator or evaluation firm (✓ – We are.);
  • Be supportive of the innovation ecosystem and promote inclusive economic growth. ( – we totally do.);
  • Have experience working in the innovation and startup ecosystem ( – we totally do – this is our jam);
  • Be committed to creating regional-scale, technology-driven innovation ecosystems throughout every region of the United States, accelerating emerging technologies, driving economic growth, addressing key societal challenges, and maintaining national competitiveness ( – We do. );
  • Have a working knowledge of all (not just the program) funder’s guidelines, protocols, processes, and evaluation requirements ( – We totally do.).
  • Have experience evaluating large-scale ecosystem-change projects ( – We totally do.);
  • Have experience with reporting on project-level outcomes and federally required outcomes (GPRAs) (– We do);

Want to talk with us about how we serve as your External Evaluator for your next proposal? Schedule a consult call today. https://calendly.com/ebhoward/15min

We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.