Blogpost March 2018

by Anna Wolf

Why support external evaluation?

In the NGO sector, projects are rarely evaluated by an independent organization. This is often due to the fact that grant makers do not generally provide funds for external evaluation. However, the investment is mutually beneficial for both the grantee and the grant maker. In this blog we would like to share an example our consulting work with Mondelēz International Foundation, the foundation of the Mondelēz Food Company.

 

From 2012 to 2016, he Mondelēz International Foundation supported the non-profit organization Class2000 - Strong and Healthy in Primary School (Klasse2000 - Stark und gesund in der Grundschule) with a total of 1.1 million euros. Class2000 is a health promotion and sickness prevention program that has worked with primary schools throughout Germany since 1991. Via the Foundation’s funding, 900 primary school classes, primarily situated in East Germany and in Mondelēz business locations, participated for four years in Class 2000's health program. Beyond Philanthropy’s role in relationship between the Foundation and Class2000 was to provide professional support.

The external scientific evaluation of the health program was conducted by the University of Bielefeld from 2013 to 2015 and was a milestone in this cooperative project. Mondelēz International Foundation’s primary goal was to document the impact of the program and further develop it together with Class 2000. Therefore, the Foundation paid for the evaluation in full. In addition, the Foundation wanted to consider the results of the study—among other factors—in its future grant making decisions. Class2000 was also interesting in finding out whether, and how, the program had a positive effect on children's nutritional and physical activities.

The results of the study were published in 2017[1] and indeed showed that the program had a positive effect on the nutritional and physical activities of children. Class2000 therefore proved its effectiveness and used the data to optimize the program. As an added bonus, the study helped the program received the best rating on Green Lists for Prevention, a database of recommended prevention programs.

The Mondelēz International Foundation used the results to develop a reporting system on sustainable health education programs based on five indicators. This reporting system is now used in over 15 countries by the Foundation's health programs. Thus, both parties have benefited greatly from the investment in evaluation.

It is no questions that an indispensable prerequisite of this successful project was the mutual trust and open communication between the partners. It was also important that the evaluation be based on scientific standards. Last but not least, Beyond Philanthropy’s external moderation and professional guidance played a useful role. As an independent organization, we were able to mediate between different organisational cultures and “translate” when necessary.

We hope that this positive example will encourage more grant makers to support external evaluation of their funding projects.

For questions and comments, please contact  Anna Wolf.