Impact round-up: August 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of our monthly 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.

Spotlight on funders

Association of Charitable Foundations’ (ACF) new flagship project, Stronger Foundations, aims to help grant-making charitable foundations identify and pursue excellent practice. ACF wants to support its members to be ambitious, effective and expert, so that foundation resources are allocated for social good in a way that maximises the potential benefit to the individuals, communities and societies they support.

Central to the initiative are six thematic areas, which were identified through consultation with ACF members and others, including one on impact and learning. The thematic area identifies key principles for a stronger foundation, including the principle of proportionality and importance of learning from failure.

To read about the progress of the six Stronger Foundation working groups, please click on the links below:

Invitation to share your story of ‘making positive impact during a crisis’

Small voluntary and community groups have demonstrated impressive resilience and adaptability during the covid-19 crisis, and their work has made a positive difference to people up and down the country.

We’d like to hear about what small and micro organisations have done to identify users’ changing needs and make a difference to those needs, how you have captured the difference made by your work, and how you have reported on this.

We will record the stories we hear and create a series of podcasts and blogs with the material we gather so that we can share it with the sector and inspire us all to continue to work towards making a positive difference.

In exchange for sharing your story we will  invite you to our ‘Inspiring Conversations’ virtual series in September. These will be free, online sessions. They will include expert speakers sharing their advice on topics such as ‘data for good decision making’, plus sessions in which you can ask your impact and evaluation questions and get support from each other and from NCVO consultants.

This is part of our work within the Inspiring Impact partnership to improve our understanding of, and support for, impact practice across our sector.

Please confirm that you would like to take up this invitation by emailing: and she will contact you to set up a mutually convenient time to speak.

Remote data collection tips

As a result of social distancing, a lot of data collection needs to take place remotely. Basic monitoring data you could collect includes data on the people you are or are not reaching and how they are engaging with you. Seeking user feedback is still important; now is the time to really engage with your users or target audiences and find out what’s working and what’s not as you deliver your work in new ways.

This article by Hur Hassnain explores different options for remote data collection for evaluation and research. J-PAL, a global research centre based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has also developed a living document that aggregates crowd-sourced tips and factors to consider when conducting remote surveys (in particular phone surveys) while practicing social distancing.

Also in the news and on the blogs

  • If you want to understand if and how your activities affect the wellbeing of the people you support, this guide by What Works for Wellbeing Centre is a great place to start. The guide brings together the most important things that organisations working with communities and individuals should  understand in order to measure subjective wellbeing.
  • This blog by Eval Academy describes how they used outcome harvesting as part of a developmental evaluation (and what they wished someone had told them before they started).
  • Ann-Murray Brown lists her top picks of books that should form the foundation of any collection on monitoring and evaluation. Do also check her other blogs and material on her website, all aimed at making monitoring and evaluation simple, easy and fun!

Our new strategy courses are now online!

Senior leaders and trustees are making choices about services, programmes and resources under conditions of great uncertainty. Many charities are reviewing their financial position, structure and work priorities, including which things to stop doing. On our new planning the next steps for your organisation course, we will take a strategy-led approach to difficult decisions.  We are also running an online course on theory of change in October.

NCVO training and events

We have launched new accessible and affordable online courses, focusing on key topics including funding, governance, strategy and volunteering. We will ensure your learning needs are met through interactive, live sessions with knowledgeable trainers – 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 virtually online, 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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