Glossary of terms on impact, data, and evaluation

Evaluation

This is a systematic method for collecting and analysing information to answer a question about projects, programmes or services.

Providing information about whether project, programme or service is having the intended effect. It also helps to know if projects, programmes or services could be improved or if there are any unintended outcomes.

Impact

Positive and negative long-term effects produced by a programme or service (like a baby bank). This includes effects that are directly or indirectly caused by the service, and that are intended, or unintended.

Impact Statement

A short, convincing statement that explains how your service, project or programme intends to have an positive effect on the target group (for instance local community or families).

These are often used to explain your work, and can be included in grant applications, proposals or presentations.

Input

The financial, human, and material resources used to deliver a service or a programme.

Monitoring

Collecting and recording information in a routine and systematic way to check progress against plans, assist with service management and enable evaluation.

Outcome

The difference to service users’ lives that occurs because of the activity or services your baby bank provides. Outcomes quantify performance and assess the success of the process.

Output

The direct, tangible or intangible results that are produced from a service, project or programme. These could be completed services, products, interventions or other ‘deliverables’.

Outputs help to tell the story of what your baby bank has produced or illustrate your organisation’s activities. They don’t measure the value or impact of your services for your families.

They are normally fairly easy to measure and can often be quantified, e.g. the number of families supported. These can be captured at regular intervals in the year or annually.

Problem Statement

A concise description of the problem or issues a programme seeks to address.

Participant

An individual receiving a service.

Quantitative data

Data that is represented numerically, including anything that can be counted, measured, or given a numerical value.

Qualitative data collection

This is non-numeric information, usually directly from service users. They can be collected through interview, observations, survey questions, recordings and images.

Target Group

The specific individuals or organisations for whose benefit a programme is delivered.

Theory of Change

A theory of change captures some crucial details about why your project, programme or service is necessary and what it aims to achieve.

It can come in many forms, including a diagram or a written narrative.
This should be the first step in your evaluation process, and your evaluation should then test and refine your theory of change.