Impact round-up: September 2021

Welcome to the autumn round-up. In this edition we spotlight opportunities in impact and evaluation. We also share useful data collection tools, resources and training opportunities.

I’m Sarah Menzies, senior evaluation consultant at NCVO. I’ll be compiling the round-up going forward. Feel free to email me any thoughts or ideas on what you would like me to cover in future bulletins.

We’re hiring! Come work with us

We’re looking for a senior evaluation consultant to complement our existing team. The successful applicant will provide high quality training, capacity-building and consultancy for the sector.

The deadline for applications is 09.00 on 11 October.

Interesting tools and resources

Card sorting

Card sorting is an evaluation method that can be used to explore how an interviewee sees the world. In particular, the categories they use, what belongs in these categories and the relationship between these.

A blog written by Rick Davies talks about a version he has developed called hierarchical card sorting. This is a simple tool that can be used for qualitative research, inquiry and planning and evaluation. It can also be used with an individual or in a group setting.

Mr Excel

I had to create a quite complex sampling frame using Excel last week. I felt quite proud of myself that I used a variety of functions and pivot tables, but I made a few frustrating mistakes along the way. I still have a lot to learn.

Ann Emery introduced me to YouTuber Mr Excel. He has a two minutes-a-week tutorial sharing useful tips that centre on the effective and efficient use of Microsoft Excel. These tips have helped me a lot.


For one of my projects, my colleagues and I will be interviewing 35 people over the next few months. To avoid lengthy emails exchanges, we’ll use Calendly to speed up the booking process. There’s a free version (which we’ll use).

It’s simple – you link it to your Outlook account, select available interview times and send this to the interviewee to choose. I’ll let you know how we get on.

10 steps to a successful CRM project

We’re often told about CRM frustrations when are carrying out interviews in external evaluations. Data Orchard has produced a 10-step guide that may be of great help to charities.

At the bottom of the guide, there’s further advice on what you should include in a CRM specification. There’s a useful list of CRM systems and providers.

Inspiring Impact end of programme evaluation

After a decade of supporting voluntary organisations to improve impact practice, Inspiring Impact will close in early 2022.

The programme partners are keen to assess the impact of the programme and to identify learning for the future. They want to hear from those who have used the Inspiring Impact resources and those who have not heard of or used the Inspiring Impact resources.

There’s a chance to win one of three £50 prizes or a charity donation. The deadline to complete the survey is Monday 11 October. You can fill in the Inspiring Impact survey.

Training and events

A new dawn in wellbeing valuation event

The event will showcase the wellbeing adjust life year (WELLBY) measure. This was recently introduced in Professor Paul Frijters’ book and highlights the importance of its inclusion in the new Supplementary Wellbeing Guidance of the HM Treasury Green Book. It will run from 10.00–11.30 on Friday 24 September. Read more about the new dawn in wellbeing valuation event.

Chris Lysy virtual data visualisation workshop

Chris Lysy is about to open for enrolments on his DiY Data Design workshop focused on 21st century reporting. This will be an ongoing workshop. All sessions will be recorded. Topics will come from four basic themes.

  • Creative reporting
  • Content strategy
  • UX/UI design
  • Digital evaluation

Read more about the Data Design workshop.

NCVO training and events

We continue to run accessible and affordable courses and events online, focusing on key topics including funding, governance, strategy and volunteering. We’ll make sure your learning needs are met through interactive, live sessions with knowledgeable trainers – with discounts for NCVO members (Not a member? Become a member today).

Almanac launch

NCVO is launching the latest edition of the UK Civil Society Almanac. The Almanac is the most detailed resource on the voluntary sector’s finances and workforce. It contains crucial information on organisations of all types and sizes, from income and assets to the demographics of our sector’s valued volunteers.

Register today to join a free Almanac launch webinar on Wednesday 29 September at 14:00 to hear my colleagues introduce the key findings and how you can use it across your organisation.

Impact and strategy

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 Sarah Menzies is a consultant with NCVO Charities Evaluation Services. She specialises in supporting voluntary sector organisations of diverse sizes and scope to build their capacity in evaluation. This is done through training, consultancy and specialised group support. She is a mixed methods researcher but has expertise on action research, empowering /inclusive research and working with marginalised communities.

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