Toolkit on Effective Mentoring for Youth
Facing Barriers to Success

Best practices and resources to build, strengthen, evaluate and sustain effective mentoring programs for youth considered at high-risk of under education, unemployment, homelessness, criminalization, and other negative outcomes.

Building Capacity for Evaluation

Evaluation requires a specific kind of thinking, skills and resources. Evaluation readiness is a term that refers to an organization or program’s ability to successfully implement an evaluation project or framework. The components that make up evaluation readiness include:

  • leadership support for evaluation
  • organizational culture that supports learning and improvement
  • evaluation skills and expertise
  • systems and structures
  • time and resources

To asses your organization’s evaluation readiness, and to start a discussion on how your organization can grow as a learning organization, consider taking an evaluation self-assessment, like:

The key question becomes: What are we capable of assessing at this stage? Consider the following steps1:Eval

  • Take into consideration your situation & capacity. Map out your current level of knowledge and comfort with evaluation, skills, and resources.
  • Clarify your evaluation purpose: Why evaluate at this point? What do you want out of your evaluation efforts at this stage?
  • Articulate your evaluation questions: What do you want and need to know about your program?
  • Determine your indicators: Based on your evaluation purpose, questions, and the desired outcomes and indicators you mapped out in your Logic Model or Theory of Change, determine the type of evaluation you can undertake at this stage (output monitoring, process evaluation, outcome evaluation).
  • Develop an action plan around your current evaluation capacity and needs. Explore the resources you need to push your evaluation further, and where to access them.
  • Start taking steps implementing your evaluation.

Your staff team should be able to collect at least some output and process data internally. Examples include:

  • Numbers of mentors and mentees;
  • Participants’ satisfaction with training they received;
  • Participants’ satisfaction with the mentoring experience as a whole; and
  • Whether or not planned activities actually occurred.

Participants can turn in reports on what they did together, what they learned, and suggestions for improvements. You can also get match completion numbers, reflecting how many participants completed their match duration as intended.2

For other needs, you may have to get outside evaluation help. Someone who specializes in mentoring evaluation can guide you through an outcome evaluation and collect more detailed and candid information from participants. You and your team can strategize with the evaluator on the data needed, items to be asked, tools and procedures, and what you want the report to cover.2


  1. Bania, M. (2015). Evaluation of mentoring programs. Presentation for the Ontario Mentoring Coalition, Toronto, ON, February 2015.
  2. Phillips-Jones, L. (n.d.). Time to evaluate. The Mentoring Group: Worldwide Services. Retrieved from
Funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services