Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Practical support to help NGOs prove and improve their MEL and effectiveness.

The Bond Effectiveness Programme provides organisations – big and small – with tools, insights and support to maximise their effectiveness. It’s been designed and developed in collaboration with over 100 UK NGOs.

The central questions of effectiveness are simple: Do we achieve the changes in the lives of those we aim to support that we claim? Can we show that credibly? How can we continually learn and do better?

The Bond Effectiveness Programme aims to strengthen NGOs’ ability to manage, evaluate, learn and be accountable for their work. It’s based on the conviction that effective development work requires robust and appropriate evidence of performance.

We deliver this support through tools, resources, peer learning and training across the following areas:

Organisational effectiveness

Good organisational health is crucial for an organisation’s survival. Bond has developed several tools and resources to help organisations assess their strengths and weaknesses, and prioritise areas for improvement:

  • Bond Health Check tool for self-assessing and benchmarking organisational capacity includes sections on monitoring, programming, beneficiary engagement and partnership among others.
  • Resources that can help organisations improve their performance in these areas are also signposted from our Health Check resources page.
  • Investing in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning reviews how small and medium-sized NGOs design and fund MEL systems in their organisations.
  • Theory of Change for Organisations explains how a Theory of Change can help make evidence-based decisions for key interventions, models and approaches at organisational level.

Programme quality

Knowing what results to measure and how to do so is essential for learning and demonstrating effectiveness. More than 100 UK NGOs have contributed to developing the Impact Builder, a sector-wide framework of “tried and tested” outcomes and indicators used to measure programme performance across different thematic areas and intervention approaches.

Adaptive Management is an approach to managing interventions which tackle complex issues. It is growing in popularity in international development. Read up on what it involves in “Adaptive Management: What It Means for CSOs”.

Quality evidence

The Evidence Principles and Checklist provide a set of standards for evidence quality, helping you to assess the quality of an evaluation, or to plan an evaluation that you and others can trust. This free interactive assessment tool enables organisations to review and assure the quality of evidence underpinning their projects.


Our Impact Evaluation Guide for Commissioners and Managers explains the broad range of evaluation methods available, while the “Choosing Appropriate Evaluation Methods” tool is a practical resource to help you see which methods might be right for evaluating a specific intervention.

Getting a good evaluation depends on practical issues too. Read our Tips on Evaluation Terms of Reference to avoid common pitfalls, and our guide to Getting the Best Out of Consultancies.

Value for Money

Value for Money: What it Means for NGOs (2013) and Managing and Assessing Value for Money: Lessons for NGOs are key resources for getting to grips with issues of economy, efficiency, effectiveness and equity. Access these and more on our Value for Money hub.

Training and peer learning

Complementing these tools and services, Bond provides a range of training courses on MEL and Effectiveness issues, and hosts working groups for Bond member staff (login required) on a number of relevant themes for ongoing peer learning, exchange and networking. These include the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Group, Adaptive Development Group, Futures and Innovation Group, Beneficiary Feedback Group and Value for Money group.