Impact round-up: May 2018

Welcome to our May impact round-up. Each month in NCVO Charities Evaluation Services we summarise the latest news in impact and evaluation and share useful guides, resources and data collection tools.

How to use a theory of change – our experience at NCVO

Last year we published NCVO’s theory of change, setting out what difference we plan to make for the voluntary sector. In her latest blog, our head of planning, digital and communications Megan Griffith-Gray looks at how it’s made a difference to what we do – from helping our communication and organisational planning, to improving our monitoring and evaluation. We’ve also published a case study on how we developed our theory and supporting evaluation plan, and what we learned along the way.

If you’re planning or implementing a similar process, we hope you’ll find it helpful to read about our experiences. You can also read our how-to guides for tips on developing a theory of change or deciding what to measure through an evaluation framework, or sign up for our theory of change training.

Pragmatism in evaluation – discussions at the UK Evaluation Society conference

Our consultants Sally Cupitt and Amira Chilvers ran a well-attended session at the UK Evaluation Society’s 2018 annual conference, which this year took the quality of evaluation as its theme. Focusing on why it’s better to compromise than never to evaluate at all, Sally and Amira talked about how pragmatic and realistic self-evaluation is often more effective than a perfectionist approach in the voluntary sector. Search Twitter #ukes2018evalconf for more reflections on the day.

Latest data on charities from NCVO’s Almanac

A range of interesting new data on charities and volunteering has just been released through NCVO’s Almanac. With information on charity income sources, the voluntary sector workforce and motivations and barriers to volunteering, you could use the Almanac to inform your strategy writing, theory of change, financial planning or campaigns or policy work. Watch our animation or read a blog from our research team summarising the key findings.

Evaluating youth crime reduction work

Project Oracle has published a report about the learning from its youth justice cohort of ‘impact pioneers’. The cohort was made up of organisations looking to improve their ability to evaluate programmes to reduce youth re-offending or help young people exit gangs. The report shares learning on cohort members’ theories of change and on the data collection tools they used to measure a range of hard and soft outcomes.

Save the date! First national Data4Good conference

We’re delighted to announce NCVO is co-organising the UK’s first national ‘Data4Good’ conference on 14 November in Birmingham. The event will inspire and connect leaders and practitioners from charities, social enterprises and funders interested in exploring the new possibilities of data. It will look at how organisations are adapting in an increasingly data-driven world and how the sector can support itself to build skills and capabilities in this new field.

If you want to be notified about early bird bookings then sign up here and (optionally) help shape the event by telling us what you think of the outline programme.

On the blogs


Training and events

NCVO provides training and events covering a range of topics, from impact to governance, volunteer management and data protection reform – with discounts for NCVO members (not a member? Find out more).

Here’s what’s coming up:

What do you think of NCVO?

This month we are launching our 2018 Measuring Success survey, a chance for our members to tell us how they think we’re doing, and which of our areas of work are most important to their organisations. You can find out how the results of last year’s survey influenced our work in my colleague Megan’s blog post. NCVO members can take the survey here.

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Avatar photo Harriet is a senior consultant at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services – the team helps voluntary organisations, volunteering programmes and their funders with practical impact measurement and evaluation.

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