Impact Round Up: March 2021

Welcome to the first edition of our 2021 impact round-up. It’s been a year since the WHO declared a global pandemic and much has changed, including here at NCVO. You can find out more about our wider work on our website. In this edition we spotlight news in impact and evaluation and share useful guides, resources and data collection tools.

Impact Barometer Survey: take your part in the largest UK study exploring covid-19’s impact on our sector


Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with NCVO and Sheffield Hallam University, and funded by the ESRC, is currently conducting the largest UK study exploring the impact of covid-19 on the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. The latest round to the survey is open until 22 March. The more organisations that complete this the more impact it has.

It is quick and easy to complete. For each round of the survey, there are a set of general questions, with some focusing on a theme (for example, this month we’ll be looking at the ways organisations may interact with local authorities). As a small thank you to everyone who takes part, each month after the survey closes, there is a chance for participants to win £200 and there is a £2000 prize draw at the end of the project (see here for further information on the prize draw).

Decade of Evaluation for Action aligns to the Decade of Action to transform our world by 2030

The Sustainable Development Goals — a shared vision to end poverty, rescue the planet and build a peaceful world — are gaining global momentum.

With just nine years to go, a global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise—by bringing together governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people to get involved.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres issued a global call for a Decade of Action to deliver the global goals.

Aligned to the Decade of Action, the Decade of Evaluation for action, also known as the Eval4Action campaign, seeks to promote widespread recognition on evaluation being critical to, and a key accelerator for achieving the global goals. It will take into account the commitments made by different stakeholders – parliaments, governments, evaluation associations – to invest in stronger evaluation systems to inform public policies, ensuring no one is left behind.

Core to the campaign, is the meaningful engagement of young and emerging evaluators to drive sustainable development at all levels. In its intent and design, Eval4Action is seen as a highly inclusive campaign that is led by the civil society in achievement of these objectives, with global coordination and support by the co-leaders.

Feedback received from a recent survey has been instrumental to help shaping the global direction for Eval4Action. The brief paper outlines Eval4Action plans for this year focusing on intensifying regional and national action for influential evaluation and strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships for evaluation at all levels.

Data collection and using evidence

Using creative and participatory methods to gather data can be a way to pass some of the power in evaluation to the participant, resulting in participants being more engaged and having more ownership over the findings.

Find out more about participatory methods on our Knowhow site.

The Inspiring Impact website also has a range of creative methods and you can download your very own set of creative method cards (PDF).

Collecting data to build an evidence base is important. The Alliance for Useful Evidence – the network run by Nesta – champions the smarter use of evidence for social policy and practice. In this blog by Jonathan Breckon (who leaves after nine years as the head of the network) focuses on some of the highlights from past publications. 

Training and events

The UK Evaluation Society (UKES) are holding masterclasses between March and April including Process Tracing on 29 April. To book, visit the UKES website.

We continue to run 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.

And finally…

As you know, we are fans of Fresh Spectrum.

Impact assessment



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Avatar photo Shehnaaz is lead consultant for NCVO Charities Evaluation Services. She has provided training and support to hundreds of organisations to develop their theories of change, outcomes monitoring frameworks, and self-evaluation processes.

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