You should, for several reasons, give the final report the importance it deserves. This report fulfils various functions: it presents the results of the project and of the (self-) evaluation, it enables you to justify your actions to the people or institutions that financed the project, it informs those concerned, makes the publication of projects possible and stimulates reflection on the procedures and results of the project.
As well as giving a brief description of the project, the final report contains information on the measures taken, the people reached, the quality of the way the project was run, the degree of achievement of the objectives, undesired effects, an interpretation of the results as well as ideas for future projects.
One of the important elements of the final report is the presentation of the (self-) evaluation results. Depending on whom your report will be addressed to, you need to take into account not only the client and those in the setting, but other key-players and institutions (financial backers, executing institutions, specialized services, documentation centres, authorities, etc.).
Financial backers or the client may have different requirements regarding the form of the report. The basic question, however, remains the same, namely: what is of interest to the people or institutions involved? The choice of what form the final report should take therefore depends on to whom it is to be addressed. The more its form and contents are adapted to those who will receive it, the more likelihood there is of it catching people's attention and of them learning something from it.
Possible forms: written reports, oral presentations, seminars, workshops, press reports etc. A synopsis of the report and a presentation of the conclusions generally meet with great interest.
Why you would disregard these aspects
- You only communicate the results to those involved in the project, because you believe they will not interest anybody else.
- You have not planned enough time to be able to write the final report in a sufficiently attractive and interesting way for it to be actually read.
What you have to gain
The diffusion of the evaluation results is a worthwhile effort. Publications and presentations can help to arouse the interest of a wider public and to increase the acceptation of the project.
What you can actually do
Plan ahead for the writing of the final report. Be aware of important dates or deadlines for the recipients so that you finish the report in time. Before writing the report think about what is interesting and for whom, and what are the key messages that you wish to transmit.
Questions for critical reflection
- Have we taken into consideration all the important recipients?
- Is the report short, pertinent and yet complete?
- Is the report well adapted to those to whom it is addressed?