Can evaluation increase your donations?

Today is #GivingTuesday. Launched in the UK in 2014 by the Charities Aid Foundation, it encourages people to donate time, money and their voice to help a good cause. Originating in the United States to encourage people to give after the US Thanksgiving holiday, in its first year in the UK donations to the charity rose 270% compared to the same day in 2013.

It’s a good fundraising opportunity then, but given the recent issues regarding charities and fundraising, the media and the public might be wary of fundraising effort – so how can evaluation help?

1.    Using evaluation findings in fundraising can give you credibility

Having a theory of change, an outcomes framework and collecting robust evaluation data can help you to clearly describe the need you’re seeking to address and why your fundraising has been, or will be, effective.

Using case studies and quoting output statistics can be useful, but if you use those alongside outcomes information to show why your work is needed and exactly how it benefits your cause, donors are more likely to view you as a credible evidence-based organisation worthy of their money.

The transparent sharing of information – something that was reportedly an issue with Kids Company – can also enhance your credibility and value in the eyes of potential funders or donors.

2.    Meeting the demands of donors

Before making a donation, donors increasingly want to know not just what their donation will be funding, but whether their donation will be funding effective work; the effective altruism movement is a good example of this.

Research is increasingly being done in this area and has shown that providing evidence of effectiveness in fundraising literature can result in previous large donors making larger subsequent donations. Many UK funders are also increasingly interested in outcome data to support applications.

3.   Evaluation can help you stand out

Using your own evaluation findings as evidence means your fundraising material will be unique to you and can help distinguish you from others; even sharing findings that are less than positive can be evidence that you are a learning organisation. Sharing information on outcomes over time can help build support for your cause in the long term because you will be able to show donors progress over time.

The public increasingly expects higher standards of charities, particularly related to fundraising. Being an evaluation-based organisation can help you demonstrate your credibility by enabling you to be clear about the need for your work and show why your work is unique.

Further support

How can NCVO Charities Evaluation Services help?

  • Our free tools and resources can help you learn more about evaluation.
  • Come on our training to learn more about planning your evaluation, measuring impact and telling your impact story.
  • Our consultancy support can help you build an outcome and impact measurement approach and skills that will last.


Winning hearts and minds: using theory of change to demonstrate your impact

How can you use theory of change in your organisation? Join our Annual Conference workshop and discover what it can do for you.

Find out more about NCVO Annual Conference 2016


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Avatar photo Faruk Barabhuiya is assistant consultant at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services. Faruk works on external evaluations and handles consultancy administration. He has a particular interest in the arts, collaborative working and complexity evaluation. In addition to supporting organisations to conduct effective monitoring and self-evaluation, he has contract management and information management experience. Faruk has worked extensively in the charity sector, mainly in grant-giving organisations, including Youth Music, Creative Skillset and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

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