Indicators / kpi

To define a set of indicators to evaluate the impact of a particular project or action.


What is it: The evaluation of an intervention should always be carried out against a concrete set of agreed criteria and their selected KPIs. These are quantitative and/or qualitative variables providing a direct and reliable means to measure an achievement , and to reflect the changes connected to an intervention (the cause-and-effect relations).
When to use it: The monitoring of KPI should be performed during the whole duration of an intervention.
Flexibility: The KPI should be those that best measure the cause-and-effect relations of an intervention. Often common core indicators can be provided by administrative or funding entities. These should be adapted to the specific circumstances of the local intervention, in order to assess impacts related to a specific local problem; always ensuring the reliability of data collected.

Type of results



Time / Duration: LONG
The overall purpose of evaluation, and the respective KPI, should be well defined since the very beginning of an intervention and should be performed for the entire duration of the project, in parallel to the planning and the implementation process, providing continuous feedback about progress and outcomes’ achievement. Besides, for the majority of large-scale projects and interventions, the complexity of the phenomena to be evaluated requires an approach that includes quantitative and qualitative methods, in order to give real evidence for success or failure of an intervention and the related actions implemented.

Cost: Mainly personnel resources: needed to design and validate a set of KPI, and analyse the data collected.

Materials: Depending on the type of KPI, the materials needed can be office materials and access to database or other related material to collect the information required and its subsequent analysis.

Expertise: Social scientists and/or evaluation experts should collaborate in order to define a proper set of quantitative and qualitative KPI and to perform an accurate analysis and data interpretation once data are collected.

Stakeholders involved: Project coordinator(s), partners/entities/actors responsible for activities, work packages, etc. that should be evaluated during the intervention, other relevant actors involved in the intervention. Members of funding entities and representatives of targeted groups/categories might be interested in participating in phases related to the definition of KPI.

Nº of participants: There is not an optimum number of participants. It is essential to involve all actors involved or potentially interested in the outcomes and results of a specific intervention.
To collect solid evidence to properly measure the degree of success of an intervention, as well as relevant information, useful for a definition of potential improvements and the upscale of the results.


The common steps of an impact evaluation of an intervention based on an agreed set of KPI, can be summarised with the following steps:

  • Identification of the main objective(s.
  • Identification of clear and measurable specific objective.
  • Definition of cause-effect relations between objectives and KPI.
  • Selection of relevant KP.
  • Selection of an appropriate evaluation design and methods of data collection.

Main outcomes: KPI analysis provides a solid understanding of: the degree of success of an intervention; how the intervention or specific actions could be optimised or improved; new ideas/concepts/insights arisen during the implementation; the reason for potential deviations and what can be learned from them.

Tips / Remarks / Suggestions: The design of the indicators should include the methods of data collection.
The combination of multiple methods and information resources and triangulation of data, can help overcome biases and other possible problems resulting from the application of a single method or theory.

Limitations of the method: The different phases of the process – namely the implementation of a set of KPI, their monitoring during the whole duration of the intervention and data analysis – require dedicated personnel with specific expertise.