Done well, evaluation is an authentic learning process that supports nonprofits, foundations, and their partners to make better decisions as they work to solve a range of complex problems. Most nonprofits and foundations engage in some form of evaluation, but few have dedicated evaluation staff. As a result, external evaluators play an important role in the sector. Responsibility for hiring them often falls to executives and program staff.

Finding an evaluator may feel like a daunting task if you don't have a research or evaluation background. This essay seeks to help you put the hard-earned experience of others to use through a set of practical steps, prompts, and tips for matching the right evaluator to your need.