Funding the future

The background – EvalC3 as an Excel app

EvalC3 was developed as an Excel app because almost every person involved in my field -“M&E” (aka Monitoring and Evaluation) uses Excel. The alternative, which was not chosen at the time, was to develop EvalC3 as a web app. This was because I was concerned that there may be many people in my field who would not have any decent web access – notably in parts of Africa and Asia.

Limitations of EvalC3 within Excel

  1. Little information on actual use. More than 300 people have requested copies of EvalC3. But keeping track of who is using EvalC3 has not been easy. I am dependent on actual and potential users contacting me. I have established a EvalC3 email list, but its use is in its early days, and most established email lists only have a small minority of active users.
  2. Fragility. EvalC3 ends up being used on all sorts of computers, with many different versions of Windows and many different versions of Excel. Not surprisingly, I do hear from people who can’t make it work, and often I can’t work out why this is happening.
  3. Updating is challenging. EvalC3 has been updated numerous times, as I have added new functionality and addressed problems that have been identified and could be solved. The latest version is always available in a dedicated Dropbox folder and is publicised via the email list. But I have no idea of how many people are actually aware of the most current version, and who have then downloaded it.

EvalC3 Online

Over the last few weeks, I have been in discussions with Snapwire Software about how to make EvalC3 available online, using their “Evolve – Excel to Web” application. It will be possible to upload the EvalC3 Excel file to Evolve and “automatically turn the spreadsheet into a secure, user-friendly web app that can be accessed from any location with an internet connection” Discussions to date have convinced me that this is technically feasible at a non-ridiculous price.

The advantages

  1. The most current version will always be available to all users
  2. Problems with incompatibilities with different computers, operating systems and Excel versions will be eliminated
  3. Users will be able to securely store their data online and download that data in a traditional EvalC3 formatted Excel file
  4. Users will be able to share access to their data and analyses with selected others
  5. As the Administrator, I will be able to track the number of users, and how they are using the different functions within EvalC3

The costs

The one-off establishment costs, including VAT, will be UK£9,166. A start date in mid-December is now feasible, with an expected finish in mid-January. Recurrent i.e. hosting costs are modest, given current projections of use, but will increase if usage increases significantly.

Donors are needed

I am now seeking one or more donors, to provide funding to cover the establishment costs. Donors could be individuals or organisations. Full recognition of their support would be given on the front page of EvalC3 Online.

If you are interested or have any ideas on who might be, please email me: rick.davies@gmail.com