Impact round-up: October 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.

Impact of volunteering on volunteer wellbeing

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing, in partnership with Spirit of 2012, have published a review, Volunteer Wellbeing: what works and who benefits?

The review considers the key factors involved in improving wellbeing through volunteering. It looked at over 17,000 published reports and included evidence from 158 studies from the UK and internationally.

It found that volunteering is linked to enhanced wellbeing, including improved life satisfaction, increased happiness and decreases in symptoms of depression. Social connections, self-efficacy and sense of purpose are key pathways to wellbeing through volunteering. Older people, people from lower socio-economic groups, people who are unemployed, people who have chronic ill health and people with lower levels of wellbeing gain more from volunteering than others. But the groups who benefit most may not be able to volunteer.

You could use the review to help you design and develop volunteering programmes with wellbeing in mind – the What Works Centre suggest particular things to think about. You could also look at the Theory of Change (pdf) developed from the evidence to help you understand how and why volunteering can lead to changes in wellbeing for volunteers.

Evaluating work focused on disability hate crime

A new evaluation handbook aims to support Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations to measure their impact, with a specific focus on work to address issues around hate crime against disabled people.

The handbook includes guidance on how to prepare for evaluation and on how to select and use data collection tools. Examples of evaluation methods are also included.

Funded by Trust for London, the handbook has been put together by Merton Centre for Independent Living as the lead partner on the Pan London Hate Crime Project since 2018.

The project also drew on the experience of deafPLUS, Harrow Action on Disability, Stay Safe East, Real and Ruils, and was supported by us at NCVO Charities Evaluation Services.

Meaningful measurement – developing a culture of continual learning

Nesta and Collaborate have launched six learning products developed through their Upstream Collaborative (a group of practitioners from local authorities experimenting with different ways to address the complex challenges their communities face). Their Meaningful Measurement guide looks at how local authorities are refining measurement and evaluation practices to learn about complex problems and develop a culture of learning. Although aimed at local authorities, the guide has a series of interesting examples of approaches to data collection for learning.

Also in the news and on the blogs

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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Avatar photo Harriet 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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