Welcome to the U.S. Department of State Foreign Assistance Resource Library. The Resource Library publishes information about the strategies that guide the Department’s foreign assistance, how foreign assistance programs are developed, and how we assess the extent to which they are meeting their intended objectives.
On this site you will find information about long-term goals for State Department bureaus and missions, and information about the tools and resources used by Department officials to “manage for results.” Managing for Results is the Department’s approach to planning, budgeting, program design, performance management, evaluation, and learning.
Managing for Results
The Managing for Results (MfR) framework improves where and how foreign assistance funding is provided by connecting professionals responsible for Planning (policy formulation), Budgeting (funding requests), Managing (program oversight), and Learning (using data to adapt).
Alignment between these functions strengthens decision-making, improves coordination, increases transparency, and helps us tell our story to Congress, the White House, and the wider public.
The Department of State conducts strategic planning at the department, bureau, and country levels. The budgeting for all department activities, including foreign assistance, is developed based on these strategies.
1. Per the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2006, federal agencies develop four-year strategic plans that they make available to the public no later than February of the year immediately following a Presidential Inauguration. The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) fulfill this requirement through the development of a Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) that sets forth the goals, objectives, and performance standards for both organizations in support of Administration priorities.
2. State regional bureaus, in partnership with their respective regional bureau at USAID, develop Joint Regional Strategies (JRS) and functional bureaus each develop their own Functional Bureau Strategies (FBS). All bureau strategies look out four years and are informed by the JSP, and in turn inform the development of Integrated Country Strategies (ICS).
3. U.S. embassies overseas use higher level guidance from all relevant strategies (such as the National Security Strategy) to inform the development of four-year Integrated Country Strategies (ICS). The goals and objectives described in the ICS reflect a whole-of-government approach to advancing U.S. priorities with the host country and apply to U.S. agencies engaging with the host country.
- Joint Strategic Plan
- Joint Regional Strategies
- Functional Bureau Strategies
- Integrated Country Strategies
Budgeting is the annual process that the Department of State and USAID use to connect funding and staffing resources with strategies that will further U.S. Government (USG) diplomatic and development goals. The budgeting process followings the steps below each year:
- Bureaus and missions submit funding requests, which are considered and weighed against USG and Department goals.
- These requests inform the development of the Department’s budget request, which is submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.
- The request is then included in the President’s Budget submission to Congress and in the Congressional Budget Justification (also known as the CBJ). The CBJ is a publicly available document (see below).
- The Department receives confirmation of the final budget when Congress passes an appropriations bill, the timing of which can vary from year to year.
- The Department and USAID are then authorized to receive and spend funds accordingly.
The budgeting process is informed by the Department’s strategic plans. Following budget approval and authorization to spend funds, the Department begins to manage by first designing and then implementing and monitoring programs and projects.
Managing at the Department of State is an ongoing activity that begins during the early stages of program design and continues throughout the life of a program. The Department’s intent is to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S. foreign assistance resources and to ensure that there are logical links between the investments made and their ability to achieve broader foreign policy goals. Managing ensures that adjustments and improvements can be made as needed. The Department’s Program Design and Performance Management Toolkit guides the design and management of foreign assistance programs, and also serves as the basis for the interagency performance management framework for the security sector.
Program Design and Performance Management
Training: Logic Models, Theory of Change and Program Evaluation
Here is a brief 1-1 ½ hour training product that was developed by Dr. Deborah Prindle and Ms. Christine Singh at the Department of State as an introduction to developing Logic Models and Theories of Change for programs and projects. The module uses a short video that walks you through the steps involved in drafting a Logic Model. In the files below, they provide a Worksheet that can be filled out incrementally as you view the video and stop it at the time marks noted in each section of the Worksheet. They also provide the [88 KB] that gives a bit more explanation. The video is very generic; it was not developed specifically for use by the Department of State. They recommend three steps to the training process in this module as follows:
First, come up with a development problem that you want to use as your case material for this project design exercise.
Second, find 14 minutes in your schedule to view the below video which outlines the general steps involved in: (A) defining a problem to be addressed; (B) developing a Logic Model that articulates how inputs and activities will produce outputs that will lead to short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes for a solution to the problem; and (C) extracting from that model to craft a Theory of Change for the conversion of the problem situation into a new set of changed behaviors by individuals, institutions and/or systems.
Third, spend another hour to fill out the [161 KB] for the Project that you would like to apply this training to, by stopping and restarting the video at the time marks designated in the Worksheet.
Foreign Assistance Standard Indicators
- [29 KB]
- Foreign Assistance Indicator Reference Sheets
- [732 KB]
Learning at the Department of State involves the collection, analysis, discussion, and use of information to determine how and why programs are progressing toward defined goals. Learning is used to understand what is and is not working and what might be changed or adjusted within other components of the Managing for Results cycle to achieve better outcomes. Lessons learned via monitoring and evaluation of programs inform the planning of future foreign assistance programs and strategy. Learning about what is working well, and understanding why, is critical to executing U.S. foreign policy efficiently and effectively.
Policy and Resources
- Program and Project Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation Policy
- Program Design Monitoring and Evaluation Guidance
- [321 KB]
- [692 KB]
- [374 KB]
- [1 MB]
- [460 KB]
- List of all Evaluations
- Beneficiary Feedback in the Department’s Evaluations