Impact round-up: November 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.

Big inspiration from small charities

As part of our work with Inspiring Impact, people from small organisations across England have talked to us about the challenges of covid-19 and how they are adapting to better understand the difference they are making.

My colleague Shehnaaz Latif has written a blog about what we learned about small organisations and their impact practice during the pandemic. The organisations we interviewed told us about the importance of not waiting to get their data collection perfect, about how community relationships had helped them collect data on emerging user needs, and about how they had used digital tools to collect data in creative ways.

The conversations have now been published by Inspiring Impact as practical impact stories and a quick ‘top tips’ guide. We hope they give you some ideas for how you can make small changes to better understand your impact. Learn more here.

Open access youth provision: a shared theory of change

The Centre for Youth Impact and NPC are currently updating the Youth Investment Fund (YIF) theory of change, which explores how open access youth provision contributes to changes for young people.

Kelly Bradshaw-Walsh, Research Fellow at the Centre, has blogged about how the theory is being updated. If you’re interested in learning about experiences of developing a shared theory of change (for multiple organisations or a specific sector), learning about keeping a theory ‘alive’, or if you work in youth provision, this is well worth a look.

The theory of change development was part of the YIF Learning Project, a shared evaluation that sits alongside the YIF – a £40m joint investment in young people from DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund. The Centre for Youth Impact and NPC worked with grant holders to co-design the theory, capturing the common features of open access youth provision and forming the basis for a shared understanding of how activities lead or contribute to changes for young people. A shared evaluation framework based on the theory of change has also been used in the Learning Project.

You can also read NCVO’s guidance on theory of change or sign up to our training course.

Effective practice in healthy ageing and homelessness

Several What Works centres have launched useful resources focused on evidence around effective practice in particular sub-sectors. Take a look if you’re doing any work around programme or evaluation planning in the fields of healthy ageing or homelessness.

The Centre for Ageing Better has a new library of resources on healthy ageing. The library brings together a catalogue of reports, studies and infographics on a range of topics related to ageing better. The library is structured around the themes of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge on Healthy Ageing – including topics such as maintaining physical activity, designing age-friendly homes and supporting social connections.

The Centre for Homelessness Impact has released a systematic review on accommodation-based programmes for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It shows that, for many people experiencing homelessness, personalised support is crucial in order to successfully avoid returning to homelessness.

An interesting blog written for the Education Endowment Foundation explores why ‘digging a little deeper’ into educational research matters. It highlights the importance of scratching beneath the surface to reveal the nuances of research and evaluation findings. It’s a thought provoking read with learning beyond the education sector.

Also in the news and on the blogs

  • The UK Evaluation Society is running ‘Windows on Evaluation Matters’ – five online keynote sessions on hot topics in 2020 for evaluators and those with an interest in evaluation. Be quick – the sessions run 23-27 November.
  • Global collaboration BetterEvaluation introduce ‘footprint evaluation’ – they’re focused on evaluating the footprint that human systems make on natural systems, including evaluating the environmental impacts of interventions that don’t have explicit environmental objectives.
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation marks its 35th anniversary by reflecting on its journey as a grantmaker.

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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Harriet Pearce Willis 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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