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Foundation Operations: Evaluation-> Managing External Evaluators-> Contracts

How should I structure a contract with an evaluator?

If you used a request for proposals to select the evaluator, their proposal should include a work plan and timeline. If you have used a request for qualifications, you will want to meet with the evaluator and plan the evaluation design and work plan. Once you have established an agreed upon work plan, it's time to write a contract. The contract should be very clear as to the dates of the work, the list of deliverables you expect, and a payment schedule. Some foundations that work with evaluators use a deliverables contract – the contract is set up so that payments are tied to specific deliverables, such as a report.

One important thing that should be included in a contract with an evaluator is an ownership clause; do you intend for the evaluator to own the work they perform, or does your foundation want to retain ownership? This question can be far more crucial in an evaluation that it is with a grantee. The evaluator will create many products for you – instruments to measure various things, scales to capture nuances of learning, as well as numerous reports. Do you want the evaluator to have the right to use these items in the future? What if they want to charge a fee for the use by others? Or do you, the funder, want to give the products away to future grantees and perhaps other foundations? These questions should be considered when writing the ownership clause in the contract. Some foundations have their legal counsel review contracts with evaluators.

Contributed by Nancy Csuti, The Colorado Trust, 05/14/2007

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