Impact round-up: July 2019

Welcome to our July 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.

Use your evaluation to help make better decisions

Organisations and evaluators spend a lot of time and energy writing evaluation reports. Yet, often these reports sit on a shelf or in a filing cabinet and all the amazing information in them gets forgotten about. It’s often this information that you need to help you make better decisions as an organisation, celebrate success and be even more effective in future.

This handy guide on Knowhow Nonprofit can help you to use your evaluation findings to make a difference within your organisation. We also have guides on how to write effective evaluation reports and how to use creative reporting formats to communicate with different audiences.

A new report from the EU science hubs looks at ‘what really drives political decision-making.’ The report, put together by over 60 international experts, explores how values, emotions and identity – as well as evidence and reason – drive how we make decisions. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to make sure their reports are used to make better decisions.

Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) tackles funders’ approaches to impact and learning

ACF’s ‘stronger foundations’ programme helps grant-making foundations to identify and pursue excellent practice. One of the six programme strands is on impact and learning. The group have explored impact in relation to mission, place, power, grantee feedback and learning from failure. The reports from the working group are of interest to trusts and foundations but also charities seeking a more responsive approach to impact from grant-making foundations.

Time well spent: employer-supported volunteering

Our colleagues in the research team have been following up some of the findings from the impressive Time Well Spent research project launched in January. Their first area of focus was on employer-supported volunteering (ESV). The research report (PDF, 1.5MB) has some great recommendations for how to make ESV more inclusive and impactful. It also has some useful questions that you can use to shape an evaluaton of employer-supported volunteering.

It’s worth remembering that we published the original survey questions from Time Well Spent so that you can use them in your own evaluations and compare them against the national sample.

On the blogs and social media

This month, South African evaluator Zenda Ofir has a brilliant guest blog post on ‘transformative’ evaluation: evaluation which is focused on social justice and challenging oppressive structures.

Most programmes in the voluntary sector work within complex systems: unpredictable, highly networked and with lots of interactions going on. This poses a challenge for evaluation, and new evaluation methods are springing up to deal with complexity. A new website, Complexity Explained, introduces complexity science accessibly, with a few mini-games to help understand the key concepts.

Eval Café is a source of podcasts on new developments and provocations in evaluation. The latest one is with the father of evaluation, Michael Quinn Patton, on principles-focused evaluation.

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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Amira Tharani Amira is a senior consultant at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services working across projects including delivering open and in-house training, supporting clients to build their evaluation capacity, conducting external evaluations, and supporting clients with strategy development.

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