Urban Institute
Research Associate I

The Role of Pay for Success Evaluators: Lessons Learned

December 2, 2016 - 10:09am

Drawing on the experiences of Urban researchers engaged in PFS evaluations, this paper focuses on the unique characteristics and primary responsibilities of the evaluator in designing and implementing PFS evaluations, as well as ways in which the evaluator can leverage their expertise to go beyond these primary roles to work with each PFS stakeholder to strengthen both the project and the evaluation. Urban’s experience has shown that the early and continuous engagement of an evaluator is important as PFS projects proceed through stages of development. Especially early on, evaluators can help build knowledge of the existing evidence base, assess the capacity for using evidence among PFS stakeholders, and bring lessons learned in the feasibility stage to bear on project structuring and implementation. The evaluator is the only PFS partner without a stake in the financial outcome—their agenda should be focused on collecting and rigorously evaluating the data, bringing an important objective perspective to a PFS project.

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