MEL Mondays


We're really pleased to bring you a new Upshot series providing you with ideas, tips and resources to support your organisation with monitoring, evaluation and learning

MEL Mondays
MEL Mondays

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) can often seem more complicated than it is.  At Upshot we support organisations large and small; some are just starting to plan their outcomes, indicators and processes – others already have some pieces in place – all want to measure and show their impact. 

In this series, each Monday we want to share some thoughts and ideas on how you can place MEL at the heart of your organisation and all the benefits this brings.

In the pack you will find 5 posters: 

  • The Cycle of MEL – this shows the process of embedding the different stages of MEL - learning from one project or period of time as you enter each new phase
  • Plan Your Data Collection – help those who are on the ground and engaging with your beneficiaries to collect good data and see the bigger picture
  • Different Types of Data to Prove Impact – explore the different data sets you can collect and understand what works best for you
  • Different Types of Outcomes – be open to exploring the good, the bad and the unexpected.
  • 7 Principles of Effective Impact Practice  – points to consider and go back to as you start to place MEL at the heart of what you do. 

Discuss, share with the team – and please do give us your feedback and share your ideas with us at

What Goes Around Comes Around

The Cycle of MEL

MEL works as a continuous cycle; the learning stage fuels the better planning for the next cycle of activity.

This is why effective MEL in practice is so powerful; once embedded it can provide endless benefit to your organisation…

Planning your data collection

Fail to plan, plan to fail!

Your data collection

It’s very easy to become lost in data – there’s so much going on! This can lead to time, resources and effort being misplaced and ultimately, a much less clear vision of your impact. 

Planning will allow you to clearly define the areas of data that need to be monitored and evaluated to show your impact.

This in turn will enable real, honest insights; showing off strengths while also identifying weaknesses that can be worked on to benefit your organisation and your beneficiaries as a whole. 

Different types of data to prove impact

Data, data everywhere!

Different types of data

There are many different types of data in any given situation. What is available; what do we need and what do we need to do in order to collect data efficiently?

It’s a good idea to think about who is going to collect your data and what situation they will be in – surrounded by participants and engrossed in delivery of an activity? How can technology make a difference?

Outcomes: Different types

Expect the unexpected!

Outcomes: different types

It is helpful to recognise the different outcomes that your actions produce. MEL will become most beneficial when applied not just to the obvious and intended positive outcomes, but when used to identify unintended and negative outcomes as well.

By being open to this, MEL will become your tool for organisational growth, as well as a method of recognising your success.  

7 key principles

Your MEL checklist

7 key principles

Understanding the principles of a process goes a long way to understanding the process itself.

In the whirlwind of activity we often find ourselves in, it can really help sometimes to take a breath and consider some of the key principles – so here are your 7 touchstones to keep you grounded!