Program Evaluation & Business Case Analysis

Program evaluation is important. It provides feedback to those providing the program or service and it helps those funding programs to understand the programs impact. At EPI we have the skills and experience to employ proven participatory evaluation approaches but we also incorporate innovative techniques that from other disciplines. This is often necessary because conducting program evaluations is challenging. There is often a lack of monitoring data or a clear baseline. There are challenges to achieve rigour such as deadweight, attribution and displacement. Objectives can be unclear or limited. However, what is often the most challenging is that many of impacts (benefits and costs) are complex, intangible. As a result, the overall value created by the programs can be difficult to measure or quantify. This means that important aspects of programs may not be fully understood or appreciated by important individuals (e.g., interested and affected parties such as funders and government agencies, the general public, and – in some cases – program beneficiaries themselves).

We are also qualified to take the next step of developing a business case. Our application of tool and techniques from the decision science case differs from conventional approaches to business case in that it includes both market and non-market costs and benefits in the analysis. This means that in addition to identifying and measuring financial costs and benefits, our assessments also evaluate costs and benefits associated with a wide range of other value dimensions as well (social, political, cultural, etc.). While these non-market costs and benefits are described in qualitative terms in our reports, they have also been translated into dollar terms using methods from applied research in the fields of decision analysis and behavioural economics (as opposed to CBA approaches). This allows us to calculate a return on investment (ROI) that is very helpful in communicating net benefits from an investment in a program that is not looking for a financial return. Communities, governments, funders, and taxpayers want to know if their money is being well used and if the investment is ‘worth it’. In other words, they would like to understand the value of the outcomes of the investment. Using dollar figures to represent value across multiple dimensions helps to answer these questions and tell the story of program benefits and adverse impacts. And it does so in a language familiar to business and government: money and the value generated from an investment. EPI has used these methods to evaluate both market and non-market costs and benefits in for social and cultural evaluations for over 20 years.

Are you interested in conducting better evaluations to measure progress, improve program quality and communicate success?  Contact us.


Our Approach

Driven by Community Values: Every community is different. We start by listening to community members to find out what is important. Then, we use the values that we identify through this process as a framework to prioritize actions that are appropriate, feasible, and broadly supported. 

Based on Local Knowledge: We work with local people who know their communities and regions and are well positioned to generate practical ideas that make the best use of local assets. We then tap into, organize, and evaluate this local knowledge, using methods and tools from structured decision making to focus investment and energy where it will have the strongest impact.

Expert Supported: We step in where expertise is needed by providing rigorous analysis, cutting-edge research, innovative ideas and over 20 years of experience in the field. We have found that top-down, expert-directed planning approaches work only in unique circumstances and typically do not produce the results communities and clients need for success.

Pragmatic and Effective: Great strategies are strategies that get implemented. We hate to see strategies that are nothing more than laundry lists gathering dust on a shelf. Our approach ensures that the people who will be implementing the plan are involved throughout its development, and that the plan lays out the implementation architecture (i.e., who will be doing what, when). We can also provide supplementary services during implementation, such as project management and coaching. We call this “surge capacity”.