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The Evaluator-Client Relationship

We’ve previously written about how to work with your evaluator during the grant proposal process and during the pre-award phase, but what about once you are funded? While evaluators are often known to prepare evaluation plans, analyze data, and write reports, there are other ways evaluators can partner with you on a project. Here are some roles your evaluator may take on as needed.

1. Thought Partner

As evaluators, we have the opportunity to work with clients on many different projects across a variety of settings. While there are many differences across projects, there are also similarities that come from projects having the same funding opportunity, a related project area, or similar challenges. At SEG, we schedule regularly occurring meetings with clients, which can be a valuable time for discussing challenges or project plans about which we may be able to offer advice. Even if the evaluator you are working with does not have an answer, there may be someone else in our office that does.

2. Report Translator

Clients usually have specific requirements for reporting, which are often set by the funder. In our December 2022 blog post, we talked about how to avoid your report becoming another “dusty shelf report.” While these are all steps you can take, your evaluator can also support you in developing additional deliverables for a variety of stakeholders including one-page summary reports, infographics, status reports, or slide decks. While not all of these are possible within current contract budgets, there may be opportunities to adjust other work or deliverables to make this possible.

3. Evaluation Advisor

One thing we frequently measure in evaluations are the unintended outcomes that emerge in a project. However, sometimes these outcomes are so substantial that we need to formalize how we capture progress related to these outcomes. Your evaluator can help determine other data sources to use or develop new data collection instruments to meet this need.

While evaluators are often hired with a specific scope of work in mind, we are able to support broader needs. Talking with your evaluator during the contracting process is the best time to discuss additional needs that you believe you may have. However, sharing needs throughout the process is encouraged and we discuss options and possibilities at any time.


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