Any grant proposal you submit should have an evaluation component built in. If it is a federal grant, the evaluation component is very structured and will specifically detail how you expect to measure progress in your grant program. If you write a $500 proposal to a local foundation, your evaluation program will be much less formal and may consist of a simple statement that indicates the positive influence that the grant has had.
Regardless of how long or detailed your evaluation might be, grantors want to know how successful you have been with your grant program. It might make you eligible for a second round of federal funding, or you might want to seek additional funds from a foundation or corporation based on your results.
Evaluation programs do not have to be complex to be effective. If you have problems with reading or math levels, it’s easy to administer pre-tests early in a grant program and post-test late in the year to determine exactly how much your students have grown over the course of your grant-funded program.
If you got $400 from Target for your class to go on an educational field trip, you might want to survey the class for their knowledge level previous to the trip and do so again after the trip so you can report how much the class as a whole has grown or changed during the trip. This type of reporting could even include reports on individual students who were particularly excited or inspired by the field trip.
Just remember this. If you were taking money out of your own pocket to finance a program, you would certainly want to know how your money was spent and how successfully it was used. Granting entities are no different. They want to know, too.
Typically, grantors want to fund programs that can be replicated in other classes and other schools. If you honestly report that your program did not produce the results you expected, the grantor knows not to fund a similar program unless changes are made in key components of that program. On the other hand, if the program you funded with grant money has been highly successful, and you are able to document how much progress your students made, it is likely that the grantor will fund other similar products in other schools. In fact, it will make it much easier for you to receive more money from this same granting entity for other projects in your own school.
I have one other suggestion concerning the results you get from the program you fund with grant money. Write a letter to the funding agent thanking them for supporting your program. If your program was a success, let them know that your students would not have been able to get the positive results they did without the grant money the grantor provided. Let them know you appreciate the faith they had in you and your program that led them to provide that funding.
It is important for you to report the results you get any time you receive a grant. To do that, you need to establish an evaluation component when you write and submit your grant proposal. Even if it is not required, it is always appropriate to report your results to the grantor who funded your program.