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  • Writing an evaluation report

Use this page to learn about the process of writing an evaluation report.

Writing an evaluation report helps you share key findings and recommendations with those in your organisation and the people and communities you work with. This is the next step in the evaluation cycle after our guidance on analysing and reporting on your evaluation .

A report can be used to:

  • suggest changes to how you work
  • communicate your value to funders
  • share good practice with other organisations
  • share learning with the people and communities you work with.

Once you’ve completed these parts of your project, you’ll be able to write your evaluation report:

  • You have data that you've collected and analysed.
  • You’ve got the software to help you design your report.
  • You have an understanding of the people who'll be reading your report.
  • There are helpful colleagues available to read your drafts.

Choose the right software for your report

You have several options for software. Here are some suggestions below to get you started:

The Microsoft suite

  • Word has a range of icons, images and smart art you can use - it is probably the most popular choice.
  • Slide documents (using PowerPoint) can be helpful for writing briefer reports. You can also create data visualisation within PowerPoint and import it to Microsoft Word if preferred.
  • You can create dashboards in Excel and/or import data visualisation graphs to other Microsoft applications.

Other applications

  • SurveyMonkey has a dashboard function which can be used for reporting.
  • Piktochart, Tablea and Canva are all design software. They have evaluation and impact report templates available.
  • If you're producing content for webpages, Google Charts and Datawrapper may prove helpful.

Consider your audience

Think about the people you're reporting to so you can tell them what they need to know. You should consider these points:

  • What kind of information they need. For example, whether they need to know more about the difference you’ve made or the way in which you’ve delivered your work.
  • How they'd like the information presented. For example, as a traditional evaluation report and/or data visualisation, webpages, or PowerPoint and when.
  • Why they need the information and what you want them to do as a result.
  • Whether there are any accessibility needs that you need to consider. For example, does the report need to work on a screen reader?

Plan your report

Having a clear structure makes your report easier to read. Before you write, plan your headings and subheadings. Most evaluation reports will include the following sections.

  • Executive summary – a summary of your key findings and recommendations.
  • Introduction – a brief description of what you're evaluating, the purpose of your evaluation and the methods you've used (for example, surveys and interviews).
  • Findings and discussion – information on what you delivered, how you delivered it and what outcomes came out of it.
  • Recommendations – actions that need to be taken to respond to the evaluation findings.

What to include in your report

Reports will vary depending on the nature of your work, but you'll probably need to include findings on the following:

  • Outcomes – What outcomes have been achieved, for whom and under what circumstances. You should also report on intended outcomes.
  • Activities and outputs – What has been delivered, when and to who. You should also report on how satisfied the people and communities you work with were.
  • Processes – Information about how you delivered your outputs. You may need this information to explain why something worked particularly well, or why it didn’t work.

Describe and interpret your data

In your report, you should describe your data and interpret it – analysing your data before you start writing will help with this.

Describing means presenting what the data tells you. You might describe, for example, what outcomes were achieved, by whom and in what circumstances.

Interpretation moves beyond description to say what the data means – make sure you word your report clearly so the reader can tell when you're describing data and when you're interpreting it.

To help you interpret data, you could do the following.

  • Make connections by looking for trends, patterns and links . For example, if two groups had very different outcomes, what factors might have led to this?
  • Put data in a meaningful context . Numbers don’t speak for themselves. Is 70% good or bad? How do you know?

When you interpret your data, you could discuss the following.

  • Why outcomes were achieved, or not achieved . Understanding this may help you make decisions about future service planning. Many funders will also want to know about this.
  • What worked and what didn’t . Knowing about this will put you in a good position to improve your work. It may also be useful to share with partners or funders to improve practice in the sector.
  • Answers to your evaluation questions . When you planned your evaluation , you may have had two or three key questions you wanted it to answer. For example, you may have wanted to know whether your service works equally well for all groups.

Choose how to present your data

A common mistake is to try to present all your data, rather than focusing on what’s most important. It helps to narrow down to what people reading your report need to know.

It’s also important to think about how you'll present your information. You could consider the following points.

Which key numbers do your audience need to know?

  • Decide whether to report using percentages, averages or other statistics.
  • Think about whether you need to compare numerical data for different groups. You may want to look at whether men were more likely to experience outcomes than women, for instance.
  • Read our guide on analysing quantitative data .

Which quotations will help you illustrate your themes?

  • Choose quotations that bring your outcomes to life. Don’t choose too many or they'll distract the reader from the point you want to make.
  • Have a mixture of typical responses and those that don’t fit easily into your categories.
  • Read our guide on analysing qualitative data .

What visual aids will you use?

  • Diagrams, graphs or charts should be used to highlight the most important information, rather than information which is less relevant.
  • It’s very easy for diagrams to mislead your audience. Here are some examples of misleading charts . If you think a diagram might be misleading, it’s better to leave it out.

As far as possible, present data that has been analysed or summarised rather than raw data, to make it as easy as possible for the reader to follow.

Check anonymity and consent

When you collected your data, respondents will have said whether they wanted to remain anonymous (most do) and whether you should check with them before using a quote or case study in your report. Make sure you do any checking with plenty of time before you need to complete the report.

Depending on the size of your sample and how easy it is to identify individuals, you may have to do more than just change the name to make someone anonymous.

You might have to change their age or other identifying details, or remove references to anything that would allow people to identify them as an individual.

Write accurately and clearly

It’s important to write accurately and clearly so that your report can be easily understood and is not misleading.

Be transparent

Being transparent means being open about what you can and can’t say, and clear about how you reached your conclusions and about the limitations of your data. 

Just as it's important to minimise bias when collecting or analysing data, it's equally important to minimise bias when reporting.

  • Avoid overclaiming your role in making a difference . Your work may not be solely responsible for the outcomes that have occurred for individuals or organisations you've worked with. Remember to report on evidence of any other contributing factors. For example, support received from other organisations or other sources.
  • Choose case studies carefully . Evaluation case studies are not the same as marketing case studies. They should illustrate your learning points, not just the very best of what you do. You won't have a representative group of case studies, but as far as possible, choose case studies – and quotations – that reflect the full range of responses you had.
  • Explore alternative interpretations or causal links . Sometimes, data is ambiguous and there could be more than one interpretation. All of us are prone to 'confirmation bias' – paying more attention to data that fits our existing beliefs. It's important to look for and talk about reasonable alternative interpretations or explanations of your data.
  • Be clear about the limitations of your data . If there was a group you weren't able to hear from, or your sample over- or under-represents a particular group, say so.
  • Be open about your sample size . In general, the smaller your sample, the less able you're to make generalisations about everyone in your target group.
  • Report negative findings . If the data shows something isn't working or an outcome hasn't been achieved, don’t ignore it. Reporting negative findings will help your audience to use the evaluation to learn and improve.

Use precise language

Evaluation reports need to be as clear and precise as possible in their wording. Be especially careful about using the word 'proof' or 'prove'.

To prove something requires 100% certainty, which you are very unlikely to have. 'Indicates', 'demonstrates', 'shows', 'suggests' or 'is evidence for' are useful alternative phrases.

Make your report easy to read

Subheadings will make your report clear for your readers. Looking back at your evaluation framework or theory of change can help you think of ideas for subheadings.

It often makes sense to have a subheading for each intended outcome.

Sometimes you'll have collected data about the same outcome from a range of different sources such as questionnaires, interviews, observation or secondary data.

When you analysed your data, you probably looked at each source separately.

In your report, it usually makes sense to write about all the data relating to each outcome together (rather than having separate sections on data from different sources).

Keep your language simple and straightforward. Remember to explain any terminology that might be unfamiliar to your audience.

Develop your recommendations

Your recommendations are likely to be one of the most important parts of your report. Good recommendations will make your evaluation findings more likely to be used.

Recommendations are more likely to be put in place if the following factors are considered.

  • Supported by evidence – Be clear about how the recommendations build on the key findings. It can help to structure the recommendations in the same order as the main findings to help readers understand the evidence base for each.
  • Specific – Say exactly what action needs to be taken and when within the control of the evaluation.
  • Users  – Make sure individuals or groups have the authority and capability to take forward what you’re suggesting.
  • Realistic and achievable  – Recommendations should be feasible. You can categorise them by which ones are easy to implement and which are less so. More ‘difficult’ recommendations might need budget or staff changes. These should still be stated, as well as the impact of it.
  • Prioritised  – It’s helpful to show some priorities for action. You could, for example, split your recommendations into ‘essential’ versus ‘optional’ or ‘for consideration’ versus ‘for action’. Make sure the number of recommendations you include is achievable.

Involve people in the reporting process

You can involve other internal staff and the poeple and communities you work with at several points. For example, you could share your report drafts and ask them to help you refine the conclusions.

This 'co-production' of findings can be valuable and provide interpretations you may not have thought about.

You can also co-produce recommendations by sharing the findings with those you work with and asking them to suggest and prioritise recommendations.

If you do this, take care to guide people to base their recommendations on the evidence, and not their own interests or preoccupations.

Finishing the report

Allow time for a couple of report drafts and make sure there are people available to review the report for you. It's good to have someone look at it with ‘fresh eyes’.

If the report is being widely shared, you could have someone from outside your sector review the draft to make sure it's clear for external audiences.

To complete the report, leave time for proofreading and editing, checking references, and design and print if needed.

You might include your data collection tools in appendices – this could help other organisations working in your field to improve their evaluation.

Once you’ve completed your report, read our guidance on using your findings to improve your work .

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Last reviewed: 18 September 2023

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  • How to Write Evaluation Reports: Purpose, Structure, Content, Challenges, Tips, and Examples
  • Career Center

how to write an evaluation report for an organization

This article explores how to write effective evaluation reports, covering their purpose, structure, content, and common challenges. It provides tips for presenting evaluation findings effectively and using evaluation reports to improve programs and policies. Examples of well-written evaluation reports and templates are also included.

Table of Contents

What is an Evaluation Report?

What is the purpose of an evaluation report, importance of evaluation reports in program management, structure of evaluation report, best practices for writing an evaluation report, common challenges in writing an evaluation report, tips for presenting evaluation findings effectively, using evaluation reports to improve programs and policies, example of evaluation report templates, conclusion: making evaluation reports work for you.

An evaluatio n report is a document that presents the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of an evaluation, which is a systematic and objective assessment of the performance, impact, and effectiveness of a program, project, policy, or intervention. The report typically includes a description of the evaluation’s purpose, scope, methodology, and data sources, as well as an analysis of the evaluation findings and conclusions, and specific recommendations for program or project improvement.

Evaluation reports can help to build capacity for monitoring and evaluation within organizations and communities, by promoting a culture of learning and continuous improvement. By providing a structured approach to evaluation and reporting, evaluation reports can help to ensure that evaluations are conducted consistently and rigorously, and that the results are communicated effectively to stakeholders.

Evaluation reports may be read by a wide variety of audiences, including persons working in government agencies, staff members working for donors and partners, students and community organisations, and development professionals working on projects or programmes that are comparable to the ones evaluated.

The purpose of an evaluation report is to provide stakeholders with a comprehensive and objective assessment of a program or project’s performance, achievements, and challenges. The report serves as a tool for decision-making, as it provides evidence-based information on the program or project’s strengths and weaknesses, and recommendations for improvement.

The main objectives of an evaluation report are:

  • Accountability: To assess whether the program or project has met its objectives and delivered the intended results, and to hold stakeholders accountable for their actions and decisions.
  • Learning : To identify the key lessons learned from the program or project, including best practices, challenges, and opportunities for improvement, and to apply these lessons to future programs or projects.
  • Improvement : To provide recommendations for program or project improvement based on the evaluation findings and conclusions, and to support evidence-based decision-making.
  • Communication : To communicate the evaluation findings and conclusions to stakeholders , including program staff, funders, policymakers, and the general public, and to promote transparency and stakeholder engagement.

An evaluation report should be clear, concise, and well-organized, and should provide stakeholders with a balanced and objective assessment of the program or project’s performance. The report should also be timely, with recommendations that are actionable and relevant to the current context. Overall, the purpose of an evaluation report is to promote accountability, learning, and improvement in program and project design and implementation.

Evaluation reports play a critical role in program management by providing valuable information about program effectiveness and efficiency. They offer insights into the extent to which programs have achieved their objectives, as well as identifying areas for improvement.

Evaluation reports help program managers and stakeholders to make informed decisions about program design, implementation, and funding. They provide evidence-based information that can be used to improve program outcomes and address challenges.

Moreover, evaluation reports are essential in demonstrating program accountability and transparency to funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders. They serve as a record of program activities and outcomes, allowing stakeholders to assess the program’s impact and sustainability.

In short, evaluation reports are a vital tool for program managers and evaluators. They provide a comprehensive picture of program performance, including strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. By utilizing evaluation reports, program managers can make informed decisions to improve program outcomes and ensure that their programs are effective, efficient, and sustainable over time.

The structure of an evaluation report can vary depending on the requirements and preferences of the stakeholders, but typically it includes the following sections:

  • Executive Summary : A brief summary of the evaluation findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
  • Introduction: An overview of the evaluation context, scope, purpose, and methodology.
  • Background: A summary of the programme or initiative that is being assessed, including its goals, activities, and intended audience(s).
  • Evaluation Questions : A list of the evaluation questions that guided the data collection and analysis.
  • Methodology: A description of the data collection methods used in the evaluation, including the sampling strategy, data sources, and data analysis techniques.
  • Findings: A presentation of the evaluation findings, organized according to the evaluation questions.
  • Conclusions : A summary of the main evaluation findings and conclusions, including an assessment of the program or project’s effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability.
  • Recommendations : A list of specific recommendations for program or project improvements based on the evaluation findings and conclusions.
  • Lessons Learned : A discussion of the key lessons learned from the evaluation that could be applied to similar programs or projects in the future.
  • Limitations : A discussion of the limitations of the evaluation, including any challenges or constraints encountered during the data collection and analysis.
  • References: A list of references cited in the evaluation report.
  • Appendices : Additional information, such as detailed data tables, graphs, or maps, that support the evaluation findings and conclusions.

The structure of the evaluation report should be clear, logical, and easy to follow, with headings and subheadings used to organize the content and facilitate navigation.

In addition, the presentation of data may be made more engaging and understandable by the use of visual aids such as graphs and charts.

Writing an effective evaluation report requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some best practices to consider when writing an evaluation report:

Begin by establishing the report’s purpose, objectives, and target audience. A clear understanding of these elements will help guide the report’s structure and content.

Use clear and concise language throughout the report. Avoid jargon and technical terms that may be difficult for readers to understand.

Use evidence-based findings to support your conclusions and recommendations. Ensure that the findings are clearly presented using data tables, graphs, and charts.

Provide context for the evaluation by including a brief summary of the program being evaluated, its objectives, and intended impact. This will help readers understand the report’s purpose and the findings.

Include limitations and caveats in the report to provide a balanced assessment of the program’s effectiveness. Acknowledge any data limitations or other factors that may have influenced the evaluation’s results.

Organize the report in a logical manner, using headings and subheadings to break up the content. This will make the report easier to read and understand.

Ensure that the report is well-structured and easy to navigate. Use a clear and consistent formatting style throughout the report.

Finally, use the report to make actionable recommendations that will help improve program effectiveness and efficiency. Be specific about the steps that should be taken and the resources required to implement the recommendations.

By following these best practices, you can write an evaluation report that is clear, concise, and actionable, helping program managers and stakeholders to make informed decisions that improve program outcomes.

Writing an evaluation report can be a challenging task, even for experienced evaluators. Here are some common challenges that evaluators may encounter when writing an evaluation report:

  • Data limitations: One of the biggest challenges in writing an evaluation report is dealing with data limitations. Evaluators may find that the data they collected is incomplete, inaccurate, or difficult to interpret, making it challenging to draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Stakeholder disagreements: Another common challenge is stakeholder disagreements over the evaluation’s findings and recommendations. Stakeholders may have different opinions about the program’s effectiveness or the best course of action to improve program outcomes.
  • Technical writing skills: Evaluators may struggle with technical writing skills, which are essential for presenting complex evaluation findings in a clear and concise manner. Writing skills are particularly important when presenting statistical data or other technical information.
  • Time constraints: Evaluators may face time constraints when writing evaluation reports, particularly if the report is needed quickly or the evaluation involved a large amount of data collection and analysis.
  • Communication barriers: Evaluators may encounter communication barriers when working with stakeholders who speak different languages or have different cultural backgrounds. Effective communication is essential for ensuring that the evaluation’s findings are understood and acted upon.

By being aware of these common challenges, evaluators can take steps to address them and produce evaluation reports that are clear, accurate, and actionable. This may involve developing data collection and analysis plans that account for potential data limitations, engaging stakeholders early in the evaluation process to build consensus, and investing time in developing technical writing skills.

Presenting evaluation findings effectively is essential for ensuring that program managers and stakeholders understand the evaluation’s purpose, objectives, and conclusions. Here are some tips for presenting evaluation findings effectively:

  • Know your audience: Before presenting evaluation findings, ensure that you have a clear understanding of your audience’s background, interests, and expertise. This will help you tailor your presentation to their needs and interests.
  • Use visuals: Visual aids such as graphs, charts, and tables can help convey evaluation findings more effectively than written reports. Use visuals to highlight key data points and trends.
  • Be concise: Keep your presentation concise and to the point. Focus on the key findings and conclusions, and avoid getting bogged down in technical details.
  • Tell a story: Use the evaluation findings to tell a story about the program’s impact and effectiveness. This can help engage stakeholders and make the findings more memorable.
  • Provide context: Provide context for the evaluation findings by explaining the program’s objectives and intended impact. This will help stakeholders understand the significance of the findings.
  • Use plain language: Use plain language that is easily understandable by your target audience. Avoid jargon and technical terms that may confuse or alienate stakeholders.
  • Engage stakeholders: Engage stakeholders in the presentation by asking for their input and feedback. This can help build consensus and ensure that the evaluation findings are acted upon.

By following these tips, you can present evaluation findings in a way that engages stakeholders, highlights key findings, and ensures that the evaluation’s conclusions are acted upon to improve program outcomes.

Evaluation reports are crucial tools for program managers and policymakers to assess program effectiveness and make informed decisions about program design, implementation, and funding. By analyzing data collected during the evaluation process, evaluation reports provide evidence-based information that can be used to improve program outcomes and impact.

One of the primary ways that evaluation reports can be used to improve programs and policies is by identifying program strengths and weaknesses. By assessing program effectiveness and efficiency, evaluation reports can help identify areas where programs are succeeding and areas where improvements are needed. This information can inform program redesign and improvement efforts, leading to better program outcomes and impact.

Evaluation reports can also be used to make data-driven decisions about program design, implementation, and funding. By providing decision-makers with data-driven information, evaluation reports can help ensure that programs are designed and implemented in a way that maximizes their impact and effectiveness. This information can also be used to allocate resources more effectively, directing funding towards programs that are most effective and efficient.

Another way that evaluation reports can be used to improve programs and policies is by disseminating best practices in program design and implementation. By sharing information about what works and what doesn’t work, evaluation reports can help program managers and policymakers make informed decisions about program design and implementation, leading to better outcomes and impact.

Finally, evaluation reports can inform policy development and improvement efforts by providing evidence about the effectiveness and impact of existing policies. This information can be used to make data-driven decisions about policy development and improvement efforts, ensuring that policies are designed and implemented in a way that maximizes their impact and effectiveness.

In summary, evaluation reports are critical tools for improving programs and policies. By providing evidence-based information about program effectiveness and efficiency, evaluation reports can help program managers and policymakers make informed decisions, allocate resources more effectively, disseminate best practices, and inform policy development and improvement efforts.

There are many different templates available for creating evaluation reports. Here are some examples of template evaluation reports that can be used as a starting point for creating your own report:

  • The National Science Foundation Evaluation Report Template – This template provides a structure for evaluating research projects funded by the National Science Foundation. It includes sections on project background, research questions, evaluation methodology, data analysis, and conclusions and recommendations.
  • The CDC Program Evaluation Template – This template, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides a framework for evaluating public health programs. It includes sections on program description, evaluation questions, data sources, data analysis, and conclusions and recommendations.
  • The World Bank Evaluation Report Template – This template, created by the World Bank, provides a structure for evaluating development projects. It includes sections on project background, evaluation methodology, data analysis, findings and conclusions, and recommendations.
  • The European Commission Evaluation Report Template – This template provides a structure for evaluating European Union projects and programs. It includes sections on project description, evaluation objectives, evaluation methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
  • The UNICEF Evaluation Report Template – This template provides a framework for evaluating UNICEF programs and projects. It includes sections on program description, evaluation questions, evaluation methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

These templates provide a structure for creating evaluation reports that are well-organized and easy to read. They can be customized to meet the specific needs of your program or project and help ensure that your evaluation report is comprehensive and includes all of the necessary components.

  • World Health Organisations Reports
  • Checkl ist for Assessing USAID Evaluation Reports

In conclusion, evaluation reports are essential tools for program managers and policymakers to assess program effectiveness and make informed decisions about program design, implementation, and funding. By analyzing data collected during the evaluation process, evaluation reports provide evidence-based information that can be used to improve program outcomes and impact.

To make evaluation reports work for you, it is important to plan ahead and establish clear objectives and target audiences. This will help guide the report’s structure and content and ensure that the report is tailored to the needs of its intended audience.

When writing an evaluation report, it is important to use clear and concise language, provide evidence-based findings, and offer actionable recommendations that can be used to improve program outcomes. Including context for the evaluation findings and acknowledging limitations and caveats will provide a balanced assessment of the program’s effectiveness and help build trust with stakeholders.

Presenting evaluation findings effectively requires knowing your audience, using visuals, being concise, telling a story, providing context, using plain language, and engaging stakeholders. By following these tips, you can present evaluation findings in a way that engages stakeholders, highlights key findings, and ensures that the evaluation’s conclusions are acted upon to improve program outcomes.

Finally, using evaluation reports to improve programs and policies requires identifying program strengths and weaknesses, making data-driven decisions, disseminating best practices, allocating resources effectively, and informing policy development and improvement efforts. By using evaluation reports in these ways, program managers and policymakers can ensure that their programs are effective, efficient, and sustainable over time.


Well understanding, the description of the general evaluation of report are clear with good arrangement and it help students to learn and make practices


Patrick Kapuot

Thankyou for very much for such detail information. Very comprehensively said.

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Tips for writing an evaluation report

Tips for writing an evaluation report

How do you report on your results.

As part of your evaluation, you will need to pull everything together in a report.  By this stage, you will have your evaluation framework in place and developed some data collection tools e.g. you may have interviewed people, observed them or surveyed them etc.

The data is in and you’ve spent some time analysing and trying to make sense of it all.

Now you need to write it all up.  Where to begin?

I use the following simple structure for reporting which you may find useful, particularly if you are doing it for the first time. 

Structure of a typical evaluation report

Screenshot 2020-04-17 10.22.25.png

In this post I will focus mostly on the FINDINGS section.  However, below are my top tips for writing the other sections. 

1. Executive Summary

What is it? A short standalone section (2-3 pages), considered to be a condensed version of the report.

It should summarise the purpose, key findings and conclusions of the evaluation

Spend time on this because many people only read this and not the full report

Write it at the end once you have completed all the other sections

2. Table of contents

What is it? A list of headings and page numbers

Ensure your headings are easily scannable. It will help guide the reader through the key findings

3. Introduction and background

What is it about? States the evaluation purpose and key questions e.g. did your program deliver the outcomes you expected?

Here is where you include background information for context i.e. a brief description of the program and who it is for

It should also include a summary of intended goals e.g. theory of change and evaluation framework (include appendices if helpful)

Keep it short and concise. Avoid lengthy descriptions of the program

What is it about? Outlines the research methods used e.g. qualitative/quantitative

Be sure to describe any limitations with the methodology

It is important to be transparent and accurate e.g. if you didn’t get the response rate you were expecting, just state this up front and explain what it means for the results e.g. they are indicative only, further research is required, but the results are still useful to help us x, y, z.

5. Findings

What is it about? An organised summary of your data in a way that describes whether and how well the program has met its intended goals. 

This is where you include your data analysis and key insights i.e. you describe the data and interpret what it means

Use your evaluation framework to help structure this section

For more information see ‘how to write a findings section’ see below

6. Conclusions

What is it about? This section should include the main things you have learned

This may include a list of suggestions for modifying the program (recommendations) or questions the findings have raised e.g. did it challenge your thinking or Theory of Change?

For more great practical tips I find these sites really helpful:



How to write the findings section?

The findings section is important because it provides the backbone for the rest of the report. 

It’s easy to go down wormholes when writing this section. You may be tempted to ask lots of questions of the data as you analyse it. That’s fine, but try to keep in mind the ultimate question you are trying to ‘answer.’

The diagram below provides some steps to help you navigate your way through the ‘findings’ sections, particularly is you are doing it for the first time.

Screenshot 2020-04-17 10.26.29.png

Where do I start?

It is a good idea to begin this section with an introductory statement to help remind the reader (and yourself) about the key evaluation question. This will keep you focused. 

For example:

The key question examined in this report is:

Did ‘Project X’ deliver the outcomes we anticipated it would for participants?

In this section we give an assessment of the extent to which ‘Program X’ delivered the outcomes defined in our impact evaluation framework.

We have examined outcomes in the following outcome areas:

Unexpected outcomes

Step 1 – 2 (Structure and Organise)

Use your evaluation framework to structure and organise the data you have collected. This simply means:

Step 1: use the outcomes defined in your framework as headings in your report

Step 2: identify any data you have collected that is relevant to each outcome and organise it under those headings (some may be relevant to more than one outcome)

Step 3 – 4 (Describe and Interpret)

The next step is to describe what the data is telling you about those outcomes and try and interpret what it means. 

Be sure that it is clear when you are describin g something as opposed to when you are interpreting it. 

Keep it succinct and use plain English - avoid acronyms and technical language

Don’t forget to include a section on ‘unexpected outcomes’

Use comparison data or contextual data where possible to give your results meaning

Where appropriate use data visualisations to bring your results to life e.g. graphs, info graphics etc.

Below is an example to help illustrate steps 1-4 working through the outcomes articulate in a sample evaluation framework.

how to write an evaluation report for an organization

Helpful online tools

Here are some handy free and low cost tools I have used in the past to help with reporting writing.  There are lots out there.  Find the ones that you like and work best for your needs. 

Sample size calculators – great to help you understand how many people you should survey (in the design stage) and how confident you and your readers can be in your results. One I have used in the past is:


Word Cloud’ generators – help you visualise common words used in open text responses. One I have used in the past is:


Data visualisation software – great for producing engaging graphs and other graphics.  Helps bring your results to life. One I have used in the past is:


Ethical considerations in reporting

There are ethical considerations to keep in mind when you are designing your evaluation and collecting data.  But there are also important ethical considerations to think through as you report your results.  Sometimes these are not always obvious. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are writing up your report.

For more information on ethics in reporting visit: https://www.aes.asn.au/images/stories/files/membership/AES_Guidelines_web_v2.pdf

1.   Be accurate and transparent

Report negative findings – it can be confronting to see negative results, especially when doing self-evaluation.  But you mustn’t hide them.  Instead, use it as an opportunity to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, consider whether your assumptions were right etc. Funders don’t expect to see perfect results.

Be clear about the limitations of your data e.g. be open about your sample size and what it means for your results . If you have a small sample size say so.  Don’t claim it is representative.  Instead talk about how results are indicative or illustrative only.  Talk about how the results should and shouldn’t be used. Use a sample size calculator to generate a margin of error. 

2.   Don’t overstate your findings

Unless you have 100% response rate don’t say ‘all participants’ think this….say ‘people we surveyed’ or ‘respondents’ instead.

Don’t use language like ‘this result proves this.’ Try words like ‘indicates,’ ‘suggests’ etc. instead. 

Don’t use percentages if the sample size is low. Use counts instead.

If low counts compromise anonymity/privacy consider combining categories and aggregate responses e.g. disagree/strongly disagree

3.   Maintain confidentiality and anonymity

Always double check you have consent before using quotes or any other identifying data.

Sometimes, because of the sample size or other factors, it may be possible to identify a participant even if they don’t provide their name e.g. their age, organisation or other information they provide might identify them. 

If this is the case, and you really want to use a quote, always check first with them before you use the quote etc.

4.   Avoid bias

It is always important to check for bias, but especially so when conducting self-evaluations. For example:

Always be aware of own biases, pressures, personal background, values and assumptions. Make them explicit in your report

Give your report to someone else to read to check for possible bias (sometimes it is hard to see your own biases)

5.   Don’t use disempowering language

Be aware of the potential effects of differences and inequalities in reporting, especially those related to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, socio-economic or ethnic background etc. For example

Don’t label people in reports e.g. call participants ‘disadvantaged people.’

Think about it from their point of view and how they would feel reading the report.

Get advice if you are unsure.

Jackie Bailey (NSW) [email protected] 

Sarah Penhall (VIC) [email protected]

BYP Group acknowledges Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and pays respect to Elders past and present. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s Traditional Owners, Custodians and First Nation

Disclaimer: Whilst we make every effort to ensure that material on this site is accurate and up to date (unless denoted as archived material), such material does in no way constitute the provision of professional advice.

BYP Group does not guarantee, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of any material contained on this website or any linked site. Users should seek appropriate independent professional advice prior to relying on, or entering into any commitment based on material published here, which material is purely published for reference purposes alone.  The posts on this site specifically exclude personal advice.

How to Write an Evaluation Report for an Organization

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You're not the only small-business owner who stifles a troubling physical sensation when you hear the word “write.” You're a negotiator, researcher, mediator, salesperson, problem-solver and master decision-maker – among many other talents – but “writer”? No, thank you. But hold that antacid. If you must write an evaluation report of an organization, you should be heartened to know that there's far more to the process than the actual writing. In fact, writing is only a small part of the mix.

Clarify Your Purpose First

Writing is always easier when you have a clear sense of purpose. Think about it: When you're stuck or have lost your way, it's usually because you've lost sight of where you're going or why.

For these reasons, take some time to plan your evaluation and clarify:

  • What do you expect the evaluation to achieve or expedite? In other words, why are you doing it in the first place? Why is it important to undertake?* Who is the primary audience? Bankers? Potential investors? It could be just yourself – no small thing if you're trying to evaluate an organization to purchase, merge with or form a partnership with.
  • What types of information do you need to formulate your evaluation?* From which sources and people will this information originate?
  • How will you collect the information – face-to-face interviews, observations, questionnaires, focus groups?* What is your deadline?

Consider the Evaluation Type

Another piece of information to help your evaluation take shape before you start writing is the type of evaluation you want to formulate. Three types are most common:

  • The goals-based evaluation, in which you would frame the extent to which an organization is meeting its goals and objectives. The outcome-based evaluation, in which you strive to uncover if the organization is successful at producing its predetermined outcome. The process-based evaluation, in which the idea is to study how the organization works. From the surface, this may not seem to be the most interesting or compelling of the three approaches. But imagine how the content would change if the organization is under fire for failing to meet client expectations; undergoing a sea change in its fundamental direction; or is faltering to a competitor.

Follow a Sensible Outline

No report “writes itself.” That would be deceptively easy. But a sensible outline will help you present the aforementioned information in a readable and compelling manner:

  • A three- to five-page executive summary, where you disclose the purpose of the evaluation as well as an overview of your methods, findings and conclusions.* A preview of the primary questions that guided your evaluation.

Evaluation methods, meaning an explanation of your methodology and a full and honest disclosure of any limitations in your research. For example, recall issues may be a problem for some interviewees and should be fully disclosed.

Your findings, which probably will be a mix of qualitative and quantitative information. At this juncture, it's smart to start giving some thought about how to present your findings in a way that will engage your readers. (It may help to think about what helps you to enjoy reading, such as pictures and illustrations and helpful charts and graphs.)

  • Your recommendations, which should be highly specific, practical and realistic – and supported by the evidence you uncovered.* The appendix, a place where you “send” your readers to delve into supporting information, such as any questionnaires, checklists or discussion guides.

Write With Visual Energy

Don't think for a second that your readers are expecting a “dry,” dull product just because the word “report” may be in the title. All writing should be engaging, and other pointers should help enliven your writing:

  • Those visual aids that will highlight key information and, perhaps, deftly summarize what may be too complex or arcane to present with text alone.
  • The use of anecdotes that help drive home key points. Readers usually enjoy stories that illustrate or embellish key points. Subheads that will guide your readers from one important section to another. (They'll guide you too.) Pull-out quotes – also known as quote boxes – that can draw attention to key sections of your text.

Put Yourself in the Readers' Shoes

Of course, it's most important to write clearly and concisely so that you leave no doubt about your meaning. Keeping your audience in mind is important, though it's impossible to know everything readers know about your topic. In these cases, err on the side of over-explaining rather than under-explaining, because well-informed readers can always skip over information they consider redundant.

Your report may go through multiple drafts, but try to consider it time well-spent. Even professional writers agonize over words and paragraphs – and find comfort in antacid as they sculpt their work.

  • Better Evaluation: Final Reports
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  • While the sections recommended in this article are useful for most evaluation reports, keep in mind that your report may require different sections based on the nature of the report itself.

Mary Wroblewski earned a master's degree with high honors in communications and has worked as a reporter and editor in two Chicago newsrooms. Then she launched her own small business, which specialized in assisting small business owners with “all things marketing” – from drafting a marketing plan and writing website copy to crafting media plans and developing email campaigns. Mary writes extensively about small business issues and especially “all things marketing.”

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How to Write an Evaluation Report

How To Write An Evaluation Report

Whether you are monitoring or evaluating, at some point or points, there will be a reporting process. This reporting process follows the stages of analyzing information.

You will report to different stakeholders (Board, Management team , Staff, Beneficiaries, and Donors) in different ways, sometimes in written form, sometimes verbally, and, increasingly, making use of tools such as PowerPoint presentations, slides, and videos.

A written evaluation report may be prepared in line with the following format: these are the components of an evaluation report.

  • Executive summary.
  • Content page.
  • Introduction.
  • Conclusions.
  • Recommendations.
  • Appendices.

The executive summary is intended for time-constraint readers but must be attractive to make people curious so that they want to read the entire report.

A preface is a place where you become courteous to thank people and make broad comments about the processes and findings.

The introductory section is designed to deal with the background of the project, the need for the evaluation, and the entire activity in a nutshell.

The findings section will accommodate the results about the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact thereof that have emerged.

The conclusions you draw will follow your findings, while your recommendations will address weaknesses, followed by what needs to be done to strengthen the programs being evaluated.

Include your Terms of References (TOR), a questionnaire used in the evaluation, and any other reference documents in the appendices that you could not accommodate inside the text.

Outline of writing an evaluation report

Here is an example of an outline of writing an evaluation report adapted from the UNICEF Guide “Program Manager’s Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Toolkit (2006):

Why is the reporting process essential in monitoring or evaluating?

The reporting process is crucial as it follows the stages of analyzing information, allowing stakeholders to understand the results and implications of the monitoring or evaluation.

What are the different ways to report to stakeholders?

Stakeholders can be reported to in various ways, including written reports, verbal communication , PowerPoint presentations, slides, and videos.

What are the primary components of a written evaluation report?

The main components of a written evaluation report include the Executive summary, Preface, Content page, Introduction, Findings, Conclusions, Recommendations, and Appendices.

What is the purpose of the executive summary in an evaluation report?

The executive summary is designed for time-constraint readers and should be compelling enough to make readers curious about reading the entire report.

How does the introduction section of the evaluation report differ from the preface?

The introduction deals with the background of the project, the need for the evaluation, and summarizes the entire activity. In contrast, the preface is where you thank people and make broad comments about the processes and findings.

What should be included in the findings section of the evaluation report?

The findings section should accommodate results about the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of the project or program being evaluated.

What is the purpose of the appendices in an evaluation report?

The appendices include the Terms of References (TOR), questionnaires used in the evaluation, and any other reference documents that couldn’t be accommodated within the main text of the report.

Following our deep dive into how to write an evaluation report; use our total guide on research and research methodology concepts .

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How to Write an Evaluation Report

how to write an evaluation report

Importance of an Evaluation Report

Key components of an evaluation report.

  • Title or header.  This includes a clear and concise title, the authors’ names, date of preparation, etc.
  • Executive summary.  This should contain a brief summary of the subject of the report.
  • Table of contents.  This includes an overview of the contents of the report and their respective pages.
  • Introductory remarks. Mainly a  short report introduction on the purpose, and target of the evaluation.
  • Scope.  This discusses the evaluation focus.  
  • Resources and methods.  Materials, equipment, and methods involved in the evaluation.
  • Summary. Typically includes findings, conclusions, and interpretations derived in the evaluation.
  • Recommendations. This provides an idea on information dissemination and intended use of the evaluation’s findings and conclusions.
  • References.  This contains the references used by the authors upon report writing the evaluation.

Tips in Writing an Evaluation Report

  • Think of a purpose.  This creates the foundation of the evaluation business report . One needs to determine the purpose of creating an evaluation report to determine its focus.
  • Gather the most important details of the evaluation to be included in the report.
  • Know the audience of your report.  This includes the people who will view the report, its users, and in most cases, the evaluation’s subjects. Anticipate the questions and concerns they might ask regarding the technical report .
  • Divide the report into different sections.  This will promote better distribution of ideas and contents of the evaluation itself.
  • Write in a clear manner.  This will allow your audience to comprehend the ideas you present better.
  • Proofread your report.  Proofreading is the best way to get rid of the possible errors your report might contain.

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Writing Evaluation Report of a Project

A clear, concise, brief and yet complete guide on writing mid-term or final evaluation report for a Project of any kind. The format is also available in MS Word format and can be downloaded from here: Evaluation Report Writing Template .

1.    Executive Summary

The executive summary of an evaluation report is a shortened version of the full report. It highlights the purpose of the evaluation, key questions, research methodology, evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendations. 

This summary provides a condensed version of the different sections – usually one to four pages – and is placed at the start of the report. To write an effective summary, the original document must be fully read with key ideas and important points highlighted. Re-write the highlighted sentences briefly, skipping the unimportant details. The executive summary should contain the following details in brief form:

  • Purpose/Objective
  • Methodology
  • Key Findings and Conclusions
  • Lessons Learned: Recommendations that can be generalized beyond the specific case to apply to programs globally
  • Recommendations: Overall suggestions of how the project/program can be improved based on the findings

2. Introduction to the Project

It is a brief summary of the background of the project, its objectives, planned outputs, outcomes, impacts and stakeholders of the project. Introduction to the project states what the project aims to achieve and what measures are to be taken for this purpose. Here information about the project team, target area and donors can also be provided briefly.

3. Purpose of the Evaluation

It is a statement of why the assessment is needed, how it will benefit the program/project. In this section the evaluator should state the purpose of this practice that may be to assess the degree of achievements of the objectives and results of the project, as outlined in the proposal. The purpose of the evaluation is usually mentioned in the Request for Proposal (RFP) too, so that document can also be used as reference here.

4. Objectives of the Evaluation

Objectives of the evaluation include assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impacts and sustainability of the project and its activities. These should be realistic, in line with the RFP and the given resources (time and money). Objectives of the evaluation can also include what challenges were faced during implementation of the project, important lessons learned and recommendations for the future project implementation.

Sometimes the main purpose of the evaluation can be to focus on the process of implementation rather than on its impact, since this would be minimal if the project has started short time ago or was a short duration project. In this case it would also be important to access the participatory approaches used to identify project beneficiaries and the communities’ role in implementing and monitoring the project.

a. Problems and Needs (Relevance)

  • Is the overall project design relevant to the specific needs of the target population?

b. Achievement of Purpose (Effectiveness)

  • To what extent does the intended outputs and outcomes level indicators achieved in relation to targets set up in the project document;
  • How effective and appropriate is the project approach?
  • How well was beneficiaries’ and stakeholders’ (including government) participation incorporated in the project cycle? 
  • What was the quality of the M&E system?

c.      Sound management and value for money (Efficiency)

  • How far funding, staff, time and other resources contributing to or hindering the achievement of the results. Is ‘Value for money’ achieving?

d.      Achievement of wider effects (Impact)

  • Will the project activities be helpful in impacting the lives of the people? If the project is a short-term, care should be taken about committing for long term impacts. What difference is expected in the lives of those targeted in the project as compare the project baseline initial bench marks?
  • Who were the direct and indirect/wider beneficiaries of the project?

e.      Likely continuation of achieved results (Sustainability)

  • What were the prospects for the benefits of the project being sustained after the funding will be over?
  • How was the exit strategy defined, and how this will be managed at the end of the funding period?

5.    Methodology

The evaluator should make use of this section to define what methods of research (Quantitative / qualitative) did he/she used, what documents/reports did he/she study, how was the sampling done and how did he/she arranged for knowing about the community’s feedback on the project. In short, the evaluator should mention all of the sources of data collection, sampling techniques used, methods of data collection (e.g. surveys, FGDs, key informant interviews, staff debriefing), data analysis and documentation. Here he/she can also select or finalize the key areas of investigation like:

  • Impact on beneficiaries and the community
  • Community participation
  • Selection and processing of beneficiaries
  • Project management and overall implementation process

It would also be necessary to include the limitations of the methodology, if any.

6.    Evaluation Findings

Here the evaluator can discuss whether the project has adequate number of qualified and experienced staff and whether they are performing their duties to the required performance level or not. Details about individual staff members involved in the project can be included either as part of this section or in the appendix, depending on the length and importance of this information.

a.      Relevance

The evaluator should answer at least the following questions with regards to the project being evaluated:

  • What activities were planned/implemented and how relevant the activities are in the context of what is to be achieved in the outcomes/impact
  • Can it really bring lasting changes in the community?
  • Are the activities culturally relevant?
  • What are the shortcomings in the relevance of the planned activities in the proposal?
  • To what extent the objectives of the project are still valid etc.

b.      Effectiveness

  • What is the degree of effectiveness of the activities on the lives of the people?
  • To what extent were the objectives achieved
  • Are people engaging and taking ownership of the project?
  • What were the challenging factors?

c.      Efficiency

Efficiency of the project should be assessed against its costs, human resources and time. Answers to following questions should be found out:

  • Are the outputs completed in specified time and allocated budget?
  • Is the Burn rate of the project OK?
  • Were activities cost efficient?
  • Were objectives achieved on time?
  • What alternatives were available and Was the best of the alternatives was chosen in implementing activities?

d.      Impact

This involves evaluation of all the social, economic and environmental changes, direct or indirect, intended or unintended, produced by the project. An impact evaluation assesses changes in the well-being of individuals, households, communities or firms that can be attributed to a particular project, program or policy. The main impact evaluation question is what would have happened to the beneficiaries if they had not received the program. The evaluator can gauge the number of beneficiaries and see what real difference has the project or its activities made in the lives of the people?

Impact evaluation provides feedback to help improve the design of programs and policies. In addition to providing for improved accountability, impact evaluations are a tool for dynamic learning, allowing policymakers to improve ongoing programs and ultimately better allocate funds across programs. Information generated by impact evaluations informs decisions on whether to expand, modify, or eliminate a particular policy or program and can be used in prioritizing public actions.

e.      Sustainability

Sustainability or exit strategy of a project is a plan describing how the program will continue to achieve its goal after the project funding has exhausted. The community should be the main stakeholder in planning an exit strategy, as they are the most expert on their communities. Exit Strategies, when planned and implemented correctly, can be a springboard for sustainable development.

The evaluator should answer the following questions:

  • Will the project benefits continue after completion of the project?
  • Is there an exit strategy? Is it being implemented?
  • How effective is the exit strategy?
  • Will the project be sustainable through this strategy? What are the challenges in carrying out the exit strategy?

7. Strengths of the Project/Organization

The evaluator should use this section to portray the strengths of the organization like staff commitment, staff efficiency, organizational links and strong local presence, level of government support, availability of resources (field office, equipment etc.), successful activities of project implementation etc.

8. Areas of Improvement

Equipping field office, staff capacity building, staff turnover, increasing community involvement, improvement in checks and balances system (M&E), planning and implementation, sustainability strategy (exit strategy), security issues, linkages between outputs, outcomes and impact.

9. Conclusions

10. recommendations.

Recommendations/solutions. Evaluations often make recommendations about how a program can be improved, how the risk of program failure can be reduced or whether a program should continue. However, the inclusion of recommendations is based upon the provided terms of reference for the evaluation. These should be formed on the basis of the evaluation findings and processes which involve all the stakeholders.

11. Annexes



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