Impact round-up: November 2019

Welcome to our November 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.

This month’s blog is inspired by the NCVO/Bates Wells Trustee Conference which took place earlier this month. Trustees were able to attend advice sessions on a variety of themes, including impact and evaluation. Below are some of the topics we discussed and resources we signposted people to.

The role of trustees in evaluation

The Charity Governance Code describes trustees’ role in making sure the organisation’s purpose remains relevant, and in leading the development of a strategy which enables the organisation to achieve this purpose. Evaluation is key to this, as good strategic decisions need to be based on solid evidence. Trustees therefore also have a role in assessing the results of the charity’s work and ensuring the charity communicates its achievements to stakeholders – that the organisation is open and accountable.

This is reflected in the cycle of planning, doing, assessing and reviewing which NCVO uses to introduce impact and evaluation practice at its training. The review of evaluation methods and findings will create learning which informs future planning and improve the organisation’s work. Trustees and staff can find out more about the cycle and start the conversation about current practice using the Measuring Up impact self-assessment tool.

When training trustees we also recommend the following questions to create a solid framework for planning:

  • What’s the need or problem we are trying to solve?
  • What’s our ultimate goal?
  • What specific changes are needed to reach the goal (that we can actually effect)?
  • What do we need to do to achieve these changes?
  • What resources do we need?
  • And how are we going to measure/evidence all of this?

More resources about impact and evaluation can be found on NCVO Knowhow. These include guidance on how trustees can get involved and Studyzone videos about understanding and assessing impact.

Telling the story

Evaluation and impact reporting is about so much more than data. Visit our Knowhow webpages to find out how to write an engaging case study and how to create reporting that tells your impact story.

If you have a lot of quantitative data and are looking to include more qualitative methods in your evaluation, take a look at our page on participatory methods. It describes a wide range of tools including creative and digital ones and gives tips for choosing the right collection methods for your organisation.

Impact measurement for funders

Two reports have been published recently which aim to stimulate debate about best practice for funders. The Institute for Voluntary Action’s report for Comic Relief Driving continuous learning as a grant maker examines how funders learn from and improve their work, and also how they can support ongoing learning in their relationships with grantees. The Fore: Substantiating Fore’s approach makes the case for greater transparency for grant makers.

Funders, grant makers and commissioners can learn more about outcomes and impact assessment at NCVO training designed especially for them. Our November workshop is full, but the next course is in March 2020 – book your place online. Advice for funders can also be found in Why take an impact-driven approach to funding and Funders’ principles and drivers of good impact practice.

Also in the news and on the blogs

  • Sport England Active Lives report for 2018/19 has been published and with plenty of data visualisation.
  • Civil Society reviews CLIC Sargent’s impact and accountability report highlighting its emphasis on openness, accountability and learning, and presenting an alternative to measuring charitable spend. We liked the way the CLIC Sargent report clearly communicates quantitative information, but also brings case studies to the fore.
  • Nuffield Trust has just published a briefing paper about why evaluation is not producing the expected results. There are key points about design of the model and evaluating in complex environments.
  • Ahmed Aboubacrine writes about Learning from failure: lessons for evaluators and organisations. Another interesting read covering culture, complexity and accountability.
  • A group of evaluation academics at the University of Minnesota are running a study about values in evaluation. If you consider yourself an evaluator, you can fill in the survey here.

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 about membership).

Here’s what’s coming up:

  • Assessing the impact of your volunteers – 28 November
  • Outcome and impact measurement (one day) – 3 December
  • Developing your theory of change – 21 January
  • Outcome and impact measurement (two days) – 6 and 7 February
  • How to report on outcome and impact data – 12 February
  • How to collect outcome and impact data – 26 February
  • Strategic planning: Creating the right process for your organisation – 16 March
  • Outcomes and impact assessment for funders, grant makers and commissioners – 26 March

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.

This entry was posted in Policy, Practical support, Training and events and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Like this? Read more

Jenny Potkins Jenny is a consultant at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services.

Comments are closed.