Evaluate the Impact of Your Capacity Building


Who receives the capacity building?  |  How has it impacted them?

The next step is to gather information about the grantees and contractors that receive your capacity building including who they are, how they have benefited from the capacity building services and what they recommend to improve it. There are two main method options.

  • Survey: A survey of all recent capacity building participants
  • Focus Group: Focus group(s) discussions with a representative group of capacity building participants



Start by reflecting on the purpose of the study you identified in Step One. Then think about the specific information you need from capacity building participants.​ 



Determine what you want to learn from capacity building participants. This may include all or some of the following:

  • Characteristics of capacity building participants:
    • Individuals - demographics such as age, race/ethnicity and gender, etc.
    • Organizations - staff size, budget size, geographic location, etc.
  • Capacity building activities they participated in: what activities, how many and when
  • Satisfaction level with the capacity building they received
  • What was most helpful and what could be improved
  • Impact of the capacity building activities: new knowledge, new relationships/network, etc.
  • Differences in impact or satisfaction based on participant characteristics
  • Other questions: _____________________________ 



How to Create a Case Study

Decide whether to conduct a survey
or a focus group​. 

A survey is a simple means to ask a large number of
capacity building participants the same questions.
Online tools such as Survey Monkey simplify survey
implementation and analysis. A survey is the best
method when you want information from a big group
of people and you have specific questions with generally
clear cut responses (“closed-ended questions”). A survey
is typically the most representative and effective method
for evaluating the impact of your capacity building efforts.




Need help getting started with your survey? Check out these sample questions used by the LA County Arts Commission when we did our own assessment. 

If the number of participants is small and/or you are not sure how participants would answer survey questions and want more open discussion with them (“open-ended questions”), you can still gather much of this information by conducting one or more focus groups. Focus groups are facilitated discussions with a representative group of participants. Focus groups ​​allow for more open-ended questions and follow-up discussions than a survey. It is important that a wide range of participants are selected to participate in focus groups so that different perspectives and opinions are heard. Focus groups can also be done in tandem with a survey to add more in-depth understanding of the participants’ perspectives such as detailed examples of the capacity building impact on participants.




Follow the appropriate checklist below to conduct a survey, a focus group or both.


Download Checklist #1

How to develop and conduct a survey



Step One

Establish assessment purpose and common definitions​

Step Three

Calculate resources spent on capacity building​

Step Four

Share and use ​your assessment results


Tip #3