Thematic Areas

M&E - Value for Money Analysis

VfM 2 - Launch the assessment

VfM 2 - Launch the assessment

This phase should take around 1-2 days.

A. Define the purpose of the assessment

  • Step 1: Work with the planning team to review the context and the factors that prompted the need for a VfM assessment. Consider strategic questions and objectives at the country and network level. Validate the selection of programme(s) to be assessed.
  • Step 2: To determine the purpose, use the Venn Diagram tool to explore the relative importance of three possible uses of the VfM assessment:
    • i) learning for planning course adjustments;
    • ii) demonstrating the VfM of final outcomes;
    • iii) managing potential operational and accounting gaps.

  • Step 3: Use the Validation Tool to explore the level of participation and evidence needed to support the agreed purpose. 

B: Review the expected results and theory of change

  • Step 4: Review the expected results and theory of change of the selected programme. Discuss the relationship between these and the HRBA principles (see box).

C: Identify and rate the observed changes

  • Step 5: Use the Ripples of Change tool to identify and rate the observed changes.

D: Review and rate programme expenditure

  • Step 6: Review the financial analysis in the background paper, including details on expenditures for the selected programme. Discuss what is known about the cost and quality of the inputs used in the programme. If needed, conduct an assessment of the “intervention market”, by collecting information on the market value of key inputs and the cost of programmes similar to your own, in the country or elsewhere.
  • Step 7: Rate the level of organisational expenditure (time, effort, resources) on the selected programme as high, medium or low, in relation to the total budget of the organisation. Justify the rating and indicate the sources of evidence. 

E: Plan community assessments

  • Step 8: Use the Stakeholder Rainbow Tool to identify the stakeholders who should be involved in the community assessments, by rating the extent to which each stakeholder is affected by the programme and the extent to which they have influence over possible improvements. Separate broad categories of stakeholders such as “the community” into smaller groups, depending on the extent to which they are affected by the programme and/or have influence over possible improvements. 
  • Step 9: Decide whether to do separate assessments for key stakeholders (men / women, vulnerable communities, etc.). Invite a selection of stakeholders, ensuring representation, safety, and scope for active participation. Use the Participation Tool to address logistical questions that might affect the participation of vulnerable or marginalised groups.
  • Step 10: Determine what information should be shared with specific stakeholders prior to the community assessments. As needed, plan pre-meetings with selected stakeholders to build support, review HRBA principles and prepare for the meetings. Confirm the roles of the planning group in the community assessments. 


Developed by Daniel Buckles, SAS2 Dialogue ( and Francesca D’Emidio, ActionAid. 


Here you can download some useful resources.

Tools in this toolbox

Ripples of change

To assess the levels of change resulting from a programme or project. A stone dropped in water creates ripples outwards. This ima…

Value for money grid

To review community or organisational costs related to a particular programme intervention or project and assess value for money.…