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Australasia has some excellent evaluators. More than that, we have an evaluation community full of ideas and a willingness to share. The AES has long provided a place for us to come together, at regional events and the annual conference, to develop our community together. Now we’re taking it online! The new AES blog will be a space for AES members – both new and experienced – to share their perspectives, reflecting on their theory... If you have an idea, please contact us on Please also view our blog guidelines.

How to run your MEL program digitally using free tools

By David Watters, Founder at Simple and Engaging
I was recently talking with a non-profit client of ours at the end of one of our regular meetings. We'd strayed from our automated maturity assessment project to talk about some of the other projects they were working on. They walked me through one of their social impact programs and the processes involved in gathering, analysing, and improving data. One thing immediately stood out to me: the processes were very manual, time consuming, and generally diverted their attention away from the more important work of understanding what the data was telling them and how they could improve.

It made me wonder if there wasn't a more automated and digital way to do this work. While doing some basic research, I discovered a number of platforms that usually came with a very high price tag, far out of my client's reach. Our organisation's goal is to use our natural curiosity and focus on effectively using technology to simplify and solve complex problems in order to assist organisations in reaching their full potential. So, I collaborated with leading social innovation guru, Tracy Collier to learn about the typical steps in a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Program and to identify some free tools that can be used at each stage. 

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