All organizations keep records and notes, and discuss what they are doing. This simple checking becomes monitoring when information is collected routinely and systematically against a plan. Monitoring should be proportionate to the size of the organization and level of funding.
What do we monitor?
Some of the outcomes and impacts that have been noted in other regions where Food4Kids operates are:
Provision of healthy food at the early stages in child development is far less expensive than community health and educational resources required to solve ensuing problems that result in later life.
Access to healthy food on a regular basis allows children to have fewer health problems, be better able to fight off infection, and have a better chance of healthy development, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Barriers to accessing healthy foods on weekends are eliminated ensuring children chronically without food, and deemed hungry, have access to food on a consistent basis.
Inputs: As well as monitoring expenditure, some organizations will monitor other inputs, such as staff and volunteer time.
Outputs: These will be specific products or elements of service provided by the organization, such as how many children are served; number of new programs initiated; level of satisfaction with the delivery and food selection; satisfaction with the workload at the school sites; etc. These can be quantitative and qualitative elements.
Outcomes: These are related to the changes or difference made as a result of the organization’s outputs.
Impacts: These are related to longer-term or broader changes. These might be more difficult to monitor on a routine basis.