Impact round-up: May 2020

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 we are focusing on tools and techniques for adapting evaluation in response to covid-19.

Adapting evaluation – using data to make decisions

In some ways, evaluation has never been more needed than it is now. We’re in a rapidly changing situation where we have to make decisions with the best information we have, and be open to changing them as new information emerges. Now more than ever we need to have the best ways of gathering good information quickly and getting it in front of the right people so that we can make the best possible decisions.

Sally Cupitt, Head of NCVO CES, in her recent blog, shared her top tips and key questions for adapting evaluation to the current situation. Building on this, the team from Inspiring Impact delivered a webinar on adapting evaluation questions and methods to the current situation. You can re-watch the webinar or view the slides. Both focus on gathering and sharing the key information needed to make decisions.

Adapting evaluation – changing methods

Deciding what information is needed is one thing. Working out how to collect that information when many of our usual methods are not available is quite another. Luckily, the evaluation community has been rapidly learning about how to change evaluation methods to respond to new ways of working. Our Scottish counterparts at Evaluation Support Scotland have created a useful ‘top tips’ page with links to useful resources for quick and easy ways to evaluate new ways of working. There are also lots of useful resources on Inspiring Impact’s covid-19 page.

Adapting evaluation – changing reporting

How we communicate what we’re learning also needs to change in the current situation. Decision-makers need clear, concise summaries of information that can guide rapid action but make sure that important issues don’t get lost. Chris Lysy, of evaluation cartoon fame, sets out some top tips for communicating evaluation findings in his recent blog.

Many of us also have to report to funders on how our projects are going. We are pleased to see how many funders have signed up to the covid-19 funders’ statement including more flexibility on reporting. Some funders have suspended formal reporting in favour of less formal check-ins on how things are going. This may be a real opportunity to shift the conversation towards learning – to share with funders what you are learning from the current situation and what further support would help you best serve the causes that you serve.

Also in the news and 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). We’re working on moving some of our impact and evaluation training online, but for the moment we’re focusing on contributing to some of the webinars being curated by Inspiring Impact.

We can also deliver online workshops on evaluation and strategy for your organisation. Contact us for more information.



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Avatar photo 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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