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Methods for estimating the resources needed for evaluation

In this step you will learn how to estimate the resources required.

There are various ways you can set the budget (and other resources required) for your evaluation. In this step you will learn how to estimate the resources required.

% of programme/project budget 

There is no universally accepted proportion of budget that is appropriate to spend on evaluation. Budgets between 5% and 15% of the total project’s costs are common and again, bear in mind the Rigorous and Proportionality principles here!

Estimate of staff days needed

Based on your plan, you can estimate the number of staff/freelance days needed to plan, deliver, analyse and report on your evaluation.

Costs of external evaluator

You could draft a brief based on your evaluation needs and ask for proposals from external evaluators that included their estimate of the cost of undertaking the evaluation.

Ballpark budget for evaluations of a similar type and scope

You could do some desk research of similar evaluations to help you set a realistic budget. Funders may be able to connect you with other similar projects, or colleagues in other organisations could share how much they spent on an equivalent evaluation.

Developing a draft design and then costing it

You could draft your ideal evaluation plan and then cost it out, remember to consider costs of staff time across all aspects of the plan; include any technical costs, and expenses (for example travel expenses for researchers, transcription, translation, or expenses for participants).


Review the draft evaluation plan you created in Step 2.6, and identify the different resources that will be required to implement your activities. Think about:
  • Data you already have or could obtain.
  • Skills, willingness and availability of staff to carry out the evaluation.
  • Timescales and frequency of your evaluation activities.
  • Evaluation methods you are using.
Using this information, estimate how much it will cost you to implement your evaluation plan.

Time to reflect

Consider these questions and reflect on your plan so far:
  • Do you have the resources necessary to implement your evaluation plan? If not, what is your alternative plan (‘Plan B’)?
  • Can you estimate the costs of implementing your plan? 
  • Is there any other information you need to make a more accurate estimate? How might you find out this information?
  • What was the total cost of your evaluation plan? Was it higher, lower or about what you expected?
  • Are there any elements you would change in light of the costs?
Share and discuss your thoughts with other learners in the Comments section. Try to respond to at least two other posts made by other learners, provide your thoughts and suggestions to help.
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Evaluation for Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Principles and Practice

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