Making science work for development

Putting value for money into practice

13 December

This one-day introduction to value for money (VFM) will build the confidence and skills of NGO staff who have limited experience of using value for money techniques when designing programmes and preparing proposals and budgets for institutional donors.

Who is it for?

This course is suitable for people who are new to or have little experience of managing and measuring VFM in programme design, proposal writing and the preparation of programme budgets.

What you will learn

  • Why VFM is important to NGOs and people living in poverty
  • DFID’s and other donors' approach to VFM 
  • Analysing the VFM of different programme design options
  • Managing key drivers of VFM, including risk
  • Calculating unit costs and linking these to outputs and outcomes
  • Measuring, comparing and reporting on VFM
  • The challenges of hard to measure benefits, leverage and sustainability
  • Addressing VFM in proposals and reports to DFID and other donors
  • Preparing participants to develop an organisational VFM action plan


1. Who cares if NGOs achieve VFM and why?

  • How DFID and other donors approach VFM
  • Public perceptions of aid and VFM
  • Who counts – what about the beneficiaries?
  • Internal drivers
  • Partner perspectives

2. Planning: considering VFM  in programme design

  • Using the theory of change and stakeholder analysis to generate options in programme design
  • Using options analysis to make a business case
  • Identifying the key components of VFM
  • Risk analysis and pricing risk
  • Valuing leverage and sustainability
  • Addressing VFM in proposals to donors

3. Doing: ensuring VFM during implementation

  • Activity-based budgeting and calculating unit costs
  • Linking unit costs to outputs and outcomes
  • Identifying and improving decision-making processes which add or destroy value: partner selection; procurement; monitoring and evaluation; budget management; risk management
  • Reporting on management of VFM

4. Reviewing: evaluating and reporting how VFM is achieved

  • Identifying indicators and measurement processes
  • Comparing and explaining different results
  • Estimating the hard to measure benefits
  • Reporting on measurement of VFM

5. Action planning: engaging your organisation in developing a value for money action plan

  • Developing a SWOT for your organisation in relation to VFM
  • How to engage key stakeholders in developing an organisational action plan on VFM
  • Overcoming obstacles