What to expect
To provide real-life examples to the sometimes-abstract-sounding concepts in this training, there are two personas that will serve as guides. Adam is a Grant Applicant from Sri Lanka who is interested in applying for Foundation funding for a specific project. Mariam is a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Expert that represents the Foundation.
Develop key performance indicators (KPIs)
As you begin to finalize the activities, this is the time to start selecting and/or designing the key performance indicators (KPIs). If possible, you should work to select at least two of the example KPIs that the Foundation recommends. You can find example KPIs listed below as well as here. You should report the results of these KPIs to the Foundation as part of your narrative reporting.
You may also find that the example KPIs don’t capture all the progress that you would like to track. If that is the case, you can also consider developing your own ‘custom’ indicators in addition to the KPIs that you find within this guidance. You may choose to report your ‘custom’ KPIs to the ISOC Foundation, or use them to track progress for internal purposes only.
Indicators collect either quantitative or qualitative information and within those two distinctions, there are three main types of indicators. The types of indicators – input/component, output, and outcome – all contribute to measuring the impact. You will find examples of indicators below and you can find more examples and details on the indicator types here.
Examples of KPIs
(= numbers that show how something changes over time)
- Number of trainings carried out through the project (Input).
- Number of participants in your project activities (Output) – this measures your reach. It is helpful to disaggregate this number depending on the group of people you are targeting – for example, you can count the share of women or people under 18.
- Number (or percentage) of participants who demonstrate increased levels of skill or knowledge (Output).
- Number (or percentage) of participants who indicate an interest in further training/next steps (Outcome).
- Number (or percentage) of participants who self-report a change in how they use the internet/who independently look for more information on the training topic/who apply to internships in emerging internet technologies (Outcome).
(= statements and milestones of how something changes over time)
- The extent to which participants have increased confidence (Outcome) – in this case, you would provide statements describing the participants’ attitudes as expressed through discussion or behavior, for example “girls overwhelmingly agree that careers in tech are for men only”, vs “girls express a motivation to enroll in formal training or apply to related internships”.
- The extent to which the local community is aware of the opportunities and threats of emerging internet technologies (Outcome) – for example, “most community members have not heard of IoT or the blockchain” vs “community members discuss and research IoT or the blockchain”).
If you establish more than one KPI, it may be a good idea to utilize this table (called a Key Performance Indicator Tracking Table – or KPITT). You can find more details about how to fill it out in the optional, KPITT module.
- Focus first on what is important to you and the Foundation, to achieve progress as a result of the project, and only as a second step ask yourself how or whether you would be able to measure it.
- Some of your higher-level objectives will be very difficult to measure with the resources you have, for example if you are working to change policy and some of the important information on progress may not be public. In that case, focus on the closest proxy that you can measure.
- Indicator (Input): Number of stakeholder platform meetings.
- Indicator (Output): Percentage of participants that increase skills following trainings.
- Indicator (Outcome): Number of girls that decide to pursue a scientific path following the trainings.
Take time to consider – what is your expectation for each initiative?
Start with the baseline numbers for each indicator. For the majority of indicators, the baseline is likely zero because it is a new project. If you know that some activities have been ongoing, there may be an opportunity to reflect a different number as the baseline. The baselines that you created in the look back are a good place to start when setting your targets.
Once you establish the baseline, you decide on the target that you want to aim for during implementation of your project. Write down targets for each of your KPIs based on the details of the activities.
Finally, you can also set a disaggregation if it is applicable. A disaggregation for indicators means breaking down a larger number of elements into smaller parts. It is often helpful, for example, if you want to track the gender of participants or the location of trainings in different areas. For an indicator that tracks the number of participants, you could disaggregate by gender and location. You would track the total number, as well as the numbers for male-identifying and female-identifying participants, and the numbers for training participants in different locations.
- Keep in mind that the majority of your activities should be measured by at least one indicator and typically the more powerful data collected is often at the outcome-level because it tells the story about the lasting benefits of the training, past the direct results.
- Keep it realistic, you can always work with your point of contact at the Foundation if things change during implementation.
- Stick to indicators that are cumulative, i.e. if you will run one training before the first milestone and a second training after that, milestone 2 should have a number that adds up the trainings participants of the whole project so far.
Number of stakeholder platform meetings
Percentage of participants that increase skills following trainings
Disaggregation: School level (primary/se-condary school or University)
Percentage of participants that decide to pursue a scientific path following the trainings
Disaggregation: School level (primary/se-condary school or University)
Budgeting best practices
The budget is a fundamental element of your project proposal. The first step you should take is to read through the project design as you have drafted it up to this point (problem statement, project goal, theory of change, objectives, activities, indicators, and targets). Make sure your budget costs are aligned with the project objectives and detail the costs for each planned activity, equipment, travel, personnel etc. Be realistic and do not overstate or understate your budget or make up figures. If you are having trouble, look back to the costs of previous activities and base your projection on those ‘real’ costs. Ensure you are providing realistic estimates about staff time to carry out activities, conduct data collection, take the time for reflection sessions, and for report writing.
Additionally, make sure to account for any funding provided by other project partners and what activities or aspect of the project they will be covering as cost-share.
You can find more detailed instructions on budgeting using this link.
- Wherever possible, base the budget projections on ‘real’ costs from previously implemented, similar activities. You should use these figures as a basis – and then adapt it per the specificity of the activity.
- Make sure that each activity within the project is accounted for with a budget line item. If the cost is being funded through other funds – just note that as cost-share.
- Ensure that all activities listed in the proposal are represented in the budget and clearly link budget totals to activity descriptions.
- Provide as much detail and cost breakdowns as possible.
- Check your formulas and be accurate.
Optional: Encouraged action
Develop a Key Performance Indicator Tracking Table (KPITT)
The KPITT is a document to organize and track the measurement indicators over the life of the project. It is a simple table that allows you to track indicator progress over time. You should fill it out after each activity that you implement and/or when you have data to analyze as a result of the data collection techniques you’ve employed. The ISOC Foundation provides the following template (KPITT).