At Learning and Change, we usually work with international and national organizations to support them to undertake VfM analysis. This is done mainly to gain a better understanding of our costs and results to be able to make evidence-based decisions.
VfM in the international aid sector
VfM across the sector
Learning and Change understands that Value for Money (VfM) is about maximising the impact of each pound spent to improve poor people’s lives. In the international development and aid sector, it gives organisations and its stakeholders a comprehensive framework to understand whether we are investing our resources in the areas of work that are generating the most change.
What is VfM analysis
It is important to underline that VFM is not about taking the cheapest option; it is about ensuring that the relationship between costs and quality is optimized. At Learning and Change, we usually work with international and national organizations to support them to undertake VfM analysis. This is done mainly to gain a better understanding of our costs and results to be able to make evidence-based decisions.
Our clients usually recognise that VfM analysis adds a different angle to the their standard monitoring, evaluation and learning products as it is continually interrogating how resources are distributed and used and what difference they are making.
Is VfM subjective?
We know that VfM can be subjective. This is because the concept of value is subjective, what may be valuable for a western-based donor may be substantially different from what may be valuable for a woman farmer living in a remote village of Malawi. This is why at the beginning of each assignment with our clients we usually hold a workshop with the relevant stakeholders to define whose value counts and the perspective to be used when assessing VfM. This is important because it determines what a VfM framework may look like, what approaches an organisation intends to use and how the VfM analysis takes place.
Is VfM about costs?
We have also noted that VfM tends to be associated to costs and the ‘money side’ but there are significant programmatic elements that need to be considered in order to assess VfM. This was also acknowledged by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) in its report “DFID’s approach to value for money in programme and portfolio management”
So where do I start?
Think about your organization and ask yourself these questions:
- Whose value do we want to take into account when assessing VfM?
- What are the investments that are allowing us to achieve our outcomes?
- Are we investing in areas that are generating change?
- Are we investing resources in some areas which are not generating value, i.e. making a difference?
- Does it make sense to continue investing in these areas?
- What can we learn? How can we do things differently in the future?
- What are the key aspects that can illustrate to our stakeholders the extent to which the programme delivers VfM?
These questions – which lie at the heart of our understanding of VfM – allow organizations to understand what is already working well, and what could be better. At Learning and Change, we can help you discover the benefits that VfM can bring to your organization and how to best fit them in what you are already doing.
Learn more about our work on VfM here.