Stephanie Schwenn Sebring

Work For Non-Profits

I work with many non-profits on their marketing, communications and technical writing. I love taking a proposal heavy with fact and making it a compelling, straightforward document. Here is an excerpt from one such proposal.

Special thanks to RMK Management Support for allowing me to share.


1. Understanding of the Project

RMK Management Support (RMK) is pleased to submit this proposal to the Probo omnes civibus melius, to assist in designing and completing an evaluation of the FoF and the YEtCR programs in the Menandri electram area. The intricate nature of the required services is a good fit for RMK because it specializes in participatory evaluation. RMK welcomes the views of all stakeholders and believes it improves the quality of the overall evaluation.

The RMK’s proposed evaluation will result in a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the program’s activities for the past five years. It will categorize and measure the activities carried out and provide in-depth analysis of a representative subset of the programs’ numerous activities. It will also provide feedback to the regional Executive Committee, management and staff.

With input from management, staff and other stakeholders, this data will provide the information necessary for developing improved strategies. It will also offer evaluation designs that can be integrated into the programs, and enhanced from the lessons learned during the last five years. The evaluation will include insights about program implementation, strategies based on the results of each activity, barriers encountered and lessons learned.

2. Specific Approach to be Used for Each Task

Before detailing the specific approach RMK proposes for this evaluation, a few definitions of some tools RMK has used or developed over the past 20 years is needed.

Evaluation Committee: This is a team composed of seven major stakeholders. Their job is to provide local information about the community and programs, assist with analyzing data, and identifying the implications the data reveals. The team will also offer suggestions about lessons learned and recommendations for the future.

In Situ Scan:  In Latin, in situ means “in position.” An In Situ Scan illustrates the program or organization’s position or situation in the community. It is a way of communicating a significant amount of information about the organization’s environment quickly.

Theory of Change: A Theory of Change simply states the idea, belief, philosophy or science on which a program is based. If we do x, then y will happen.

Client Pathway: A client pathway illustrates all possible routes clients can take during their time in a program. With a client pathway, it is easier to identify what, where and when to collect data.

Logic Model: This type of diagram is useful for organizing information about a program, but also in identifying the what, who, and where for collecting data and developing a data base.

Task 1 – Environmental Scan and Needs Assessment

(Evaluation Objectives 1. a, b and c)

Methods recommended to demonstrate that conflict resolution is a needed resource and supported by the community:

  • Review of relevant program documentation.
  • Research into community characteristics, recent history and media (e.g., official statistical sources). This data will be especially relevant in identifying the need for conflict resolution in Menandri electram.
  • Interview key informants in the community as identified with assistance from the AFSC Executive Committee, management and program staff.
  • Develop an In Situ diagram, with input from program staff and Evaluation Committee members, reflecting each program’s position and relationship with the community around them.

This is expected to be a brief summary of the facts that support the choice of conflict resolution work in the community and lays the groundwork for subsequent evaluation.

Task 2 – Catalog and Select Interventions

(Evaluation Objectives 2. a and b)

Methods recommended to document and describe program activities and strategies over the past five years for both programs include:

  • Continue review of relevant program documentation.
  • Interview program staff.
  • Review selected client records.
  • Interview or survey clients.
  • Identify and articulate Theory of Change Statement.
  • Develop an ideal Client Pathway reflecting the original goals, activities, interventions/services and measurement/indicators.
  • Identify whom the interventions reached.
  • Distinguish how many individuals participated, and how they were directly affected by the intervention.

This is expected to result in a qualitative and quantitative summary of services delivered, clients served, and timelines showing the evolution of each program during the past five years. The Evaluation Committee will assist with prioritizing individuals to interview and selecting program staff to participate. It will also develop the Theory of Change Statement and Client Pathways.

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