Evaluation results – what’s the message?

Normally for communicating on a project, we would consider what the main messages are we want to communicate at the initial stages.  However, when communicating evaluation results, we have to wait until the initial findings are being developed – as key messages will normally be on the findings and not on the evaluation itself (not denying it’s important to communicate before and during the evaluation…).

So when  results are being formulated, this is the moment to consider what the key messages to communicate from the evaluation are.

Seems easy? As Professor Cronbach said:

“Commissioners of evaluations complain that the messages from evaluations are not useful, while evaluators complain that the messages are not used.”

The challenge of communicating evaluation results is to determine what are the key messages you want to communicate from the (often) significant body of findings, conclusions and recommendations. Often it helps to do this in a systematic way – a messaging strategy:

  • What is the most significant message coming out of the evaluation findings?
  • What are the secondary messages (maximum four) coming out of the evaluation findings?
  • What is the supporting information for these messages?

It then helps to map these out, as seen in the example below:


It is also useful for some evaluations to determine messages per audience, for example, senior management, politicians, funders, project managers and staff.  Messages are simplistic and are not designed to be distributed directly to audiences. More so, they provide the template for all communication activities. Messaging strategies are all about making choices and determining what are the most important points you want to get across.

April 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Outcome mapping lab 2014, Tanzania, September 2014

Outcome mapping is an evaluation technique that is growing in use and interest. The Outcome Mapping Learning Community is hosting their third annual event this year in September in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The OM Lab 2014 is a three-day training and knowledge sharing event to explore the value Outcome Mapping can add to monitoring and evaluation in complex programmes.

Learn more about the three-day programme>> (pdf)


April 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

10 evaluation infographics

Infographics are visual images used to represent information and/or data. Increasingly we see infographics used to communicate key evaluation findings. It can be an excellent tool to communication key findings quickly and to reach diverse audiences.  The presentation below contains 10 evaluation infographic  that I’ve collated from various evaluations. I think these examples show the different possibilities and options for how you can use this tool to communicate key findings.

(disclaimer – I’ve been involved in one of the evaluations  featured – that done by Oxfam)


March 26, 2014 at 9:34 am 4 comments

5 resources on communicating evaluation results

I had the pleasure last week to run a workshop for 2 days in Berne, Switzerland on the theme Integrating Communication in Evaluation organised by the Swiss Evaluation Society and LAUCO Training and Evaluation. In my research for the workshop, I discovered some new resources on communicating evaluation results, here are a selection:

1. Evaluation Reporting:  A Guide to Help Ensure Use of Evaluation Findings – from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2013) (pdf) >>

2. Evaluation guide – developing a communications plan for evaluation – from the Pell Institute (2014)>>

3. Communicating Evaluation Results – Presentation by the Asian Development Bank, 12th Meeting of the DAC Evaluation Network, June 2011 (pdf)>>

4. Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation –  from the American Red Cross & CRS (2008), (pdf) >>

5. Tips for delivering negative results (blog post – J. Sinclair), 2013 >>

This photo from Patricia Goldschmid of myself explaining some points at the workshop – thanks again for all the participants for making it such an enjoyable experience!


March 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Insights into global advocacy: Oxfam’s GROW campaign

I recently spoke at the Graduate Institute in Geneva for the students of the Certificate in Advocacy in International Affairs  – presenting a case study on Oxfam’s GROW campaign - drawing insights on global advocacy campaigns. My presentation is below:

March 4, 2014 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

Advocacy and Policy Influencing Blended Learning programme – March to April 2014

Here is an interesting course from INTRAC on advocacy  influence – online blended learning that can be taken from anywhere in the world:

“Is developing and implementing an advocacy strategy critical to success in your project or programme? Do your staff and partners need support to achieve your advocacy objectives? In this capacity building programme, you will have the opportunity to develop and troubleshoot the implementation of an advocacy strategy as well as build your knowledge and confidence.

This programme will give you the knowledge and skills to influence policy and practice in your own context. You will learn skills to help you plan and deliver an effective advocacy strategy; enhance your ability to lobby decision makers; and gain confidence in the ways in which you relate to different audiences. You will also have the skills to analyse power dynamics and choose your advocacy activities so they have maximum impact.”

More information >>

February 21, 2014 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

Evaluation report – Oxfam’s GROW campaign

For readers interested in campaign evaluation, Oxfam has just published a mid-point external evaluation report (pdf) of their GROW campaign – of which I was part of the evaluation team.

Often organisations will not make available publically their campaign evaluations – but Oxfam has a progressive policy on this so I’m happy to be able to share the report will all interested…

The GROW campaign set out in 2011 to tackle food justice and build a better food system.   Challenging to evaluate, the GROW campaign is broad and diverse, operating at national, regional and international levels, across 4 thematic areas – land, investment in small-scale agriculture, climate change and food price volatility.

In our evaluation report we look at the initial Theory of Change and endeavour to track the changes seen over the first two years and the possible intervening factors, positive and negative, using a variety of methods including five case studies (found at the end of the report).

As the campaign had a broad set of activities at a range of levels, the challenge for the evaluation team was to capture all significant changes seen to date and draw out learnings for the future.

Oxfam has also produced a summary infographic that you can view below.

View the full report (pdf)>>

View the executive summary (pdf)>>

The executive summary is also available in French (pdf) and Spanish (pdf) – and you can also read Oxfam’s management response to the evaluation (pdf).

February 13, 2014 at 6:04 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 834 other followers




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 834 other followers