Impact round-up: February 2019

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

New research on the impact of volunteering

Earlier this month, we launched NCVO’s major piece of research on the volunteering experience, Time Well Spent. It is the result of a national survey carried out through YouGov’s panel (10,000+ respondents). The survey focuses on volunteering through groups, clubs and organisations and includes data on recent volunteers, but also lapsed volunteers and non-volunteers. This blog summarises some of the key findings from this research, including eight key factors that make up a quality volunteer experience.

Just for Kids Law shares its evaluation report online

Over the past few years, we have been working with Just for Kids Law to evaluate their youth advocacy work. We’re excited by their new evaluation report published alongside their impact report to share what they learned with the wider sector – something we encourage all organisations to do. Our evaluation showed that Just for Kids Law’s model of holistic advocacy resulted in reduced feelings of isolation, improved wellbeing and increased ability to self-advocate.

New guide to evaluating arts and cultural learning

The RSA has launched a new handbook to help those working in arts and cultural setting to get to grips with the evidence agenda in arts and cultural learning. The guide uses evidence of how others have made a difference and evaluates the RSA’s own impact to support the whole sector’s improvement, making arts and cultural learning stronger and more sustainable.

How to embrace digital innovation

Here at NCVO, we have recently started to develop our new digital strategy. Megan Gray, head of digital, data and planning at NCVO has written a fantastic series of blogs on NCVO’s new digital strategy and tells the story (or the theory of change!). The blogs cover why we decided to be radical and brave with our digital tech and plans, how we mapped our digital ecology and started talking about assumptions and user needs.

The Data Playbook, developed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is a resource designed to improve data literacy. It features the work of 100s of contributors and includes examples, best practices, how to’s, session plans, training materials, scenarios and resources. Find out more about how you can use this prototype resource.

We would love to hear from your story!

We would love to hear your Theory of Change stories. If you’ve developed a theory of change in your organisation, please tell us about your experiences of the process of developing and using these theories. To contribute, email your thoughts to by the end of February. With your consent, we’ll share our learning from your stories and our experience over the next few monthly impact round-ups. Watch this space for thoughts and learning from us on Theory of Change.

If you’re new to theory of change, or using it with smaller organisations, Sally’s blog on the 10-minute theory of change is a great starting point.

On the blogs and social media

  • Inspiring Impact shares learning from its Impact Management Programme grantees
  • A blog for Centre for Youth Impact explores how disruptive feelings and emotions can offer valuable insight into evaluation across the youth sector
  • Evaluate blog explores how to use Think-Alouds (or cognitive interviews) to test the validity of survey questions
  • A Social Value UK blog reminds us of the what, why, how and when of impact management
  • This blog by Tom Sherrington considers why teachers (and maybe evaluators) shouldn’t use ‘I can’ self-report statements.

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:

We can also come to you! Our courses can be delivered at your venue, providing an affordable way to train groups of staff, trustees or volunteers. Contact us for more information.

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Sini 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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