Independent External Evaluators are integral personnel for many research and development or foundation projects that are funded by grant money. But where is the best place to find such personnel? Thankfully, in the digital age, it is easier to search for and find the professionals necessary to complement any team than ever before. While there are ample reputable sites to use to find an Independent External Evaluator, there are several sites that stand out as the best.
AEA-American Evaluation Association
The American Evaluation Association or AEA is a great online source for all things evaluation (You can find us there). Their “Find An Evaluator” page offers a fast easy way to find an American Evaluation Association member who is available to serve on evaluation teams. The search feature is free of cost and can find an evaluator using expertise in particular methodologies as a search criterion. This feature can be immensely helpful when projects entail reporting and evaluation on obscure subject matter and a field expert is needed.
Using one’s colleagues or peer group to find a professional to fulfill a business need is a great way to source hires. The mutual acquaintances the evaluator and the project team share can help make the evaluator’s transition into the team smoother and promote confidence in the evaluator. Reaching out to colleagues and gaining more professional acquaintances also opens the door to further opportunities for collaboration in the future.
Hiring Sites/Job Boards
Using an online hiring site to hire an independent external evaluator is a great way to find an individual to provide evaluation services. The benefit of this method is the ability to negotiate a price and view the applicant’s resume before hiring. The drawback is that this method will only yield individuals as opposed to firms. There are benefits to both individual evaluators and evaluation firms. Which choice is ideal for each individual project is something that must be determined on an individual basis.
Search Firms by Location
If a firm instead of an individual is deemed the best choice for a project, completing a quick google search for area evaluation firms is a great way to support local businesses in the area. If this search does not yield a great deal of results, consider agile remote firms. Many remote-based evaluation firms exist today. These firms tend to be more agile than brick and mortar firms and have a tendency to have state of the art technology while many brick and mortar firms tend to have outdated technology.
Grant Preparation Firms
Many grant preparation firms have ample experience in the industry and offer evaluations. Those who have employed a grant preparation specialist or have a colleague or acquaintance that offers grant preparations should inquire about evaluation services.
In the case of Small Business Innovation Research, it can be advantageous to employ the same firm or individual to prepare the proposal and handle the evaluation component of the project.
There are many ways to find an evaluator. Regardless of the method used to procure these services, it is always best to take into account the scope of work necessary, the evaluator’s experience and qualifications, their evaluation approach and methodology, and their familiarity with the standards and guidelines of the reporting requirements set forth by the funding agency.
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