Monitoring is the first part of the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) process. Many times donors require your NGO to implement a monitoring scheme. Even if they do not it makes sense to have it in place though to be able to see your organizations progress more clearly.
Monitoring basically refers to the measuring and documenting of progress, achievements, and results. The main goals of monitoring are:
- to collect data to be able to learn from past experiences to improve present or future actions
- to have accountability for the resources used
- to determine what works and what does not for the future project development
- to promote good project approaches
- to prove project impact.
Monitoring starts with the planning of a project or process when indicators are defined. Basically, the term monitoring means to collect data about the progress of a project and some predefined indicators. During the process, these indicators compare the real-time project progress against the planned progress. The main goal is to be able to see if a project is going to plan or if there need to be adjustments. There are different ways of measuring the success of a project, for example, performance measurement and impact measurement.
Monitoring is an ongoing process throughout the lifespan of the project or program. It is normally carried out by the project staff and there is no need to outsource it. Besides being a requirement of the donors, monitoring also provides an NGO with valuable data which will be useful for future proposals or for information material.