8 elements for planning and tracking development

June 26, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Trite but true: the job ain’t finished until the paperwork is done.

So, it isn’t enough to establish a successful program that really benefits people. It is also necessary to track progress and plan for the future. Without those two activities, there might not be much of a future.

In the book “Tapping Philanthropy for Development,” Della E. McMillan and Haroon Sseguya describe the lessons learned about tracking and planning from the startup of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) program, a public-private partnership meant to address the root causes of rural poverty in Uganda.

Even though the enterprise was successful, the following emerged as crucial points:

  • Familiarize staff with basic monitoring and evaluation concepts and develop a written plan.
  • Link baseline appraisals to baseline surveys.
  • Develop an indicator tracking table to facilitate the tracking of program activities and outputs.
  • Encourage speedy and efficient data entry, analysis and reporting.
  • Conduct objective impact assessments that measure program impacts using standard quantitative indicators.
  • Combine qualitative and quantitative assessment methodologies to assess impact.
  • Tailor program reports to the needs of different audiences.
  • Develop a central filing system for program documents that is easy for everyone to access, and do this in the first year of the program.