Impact round-up: May 2022

In May’s impact round-up, NCVO’s new evaluation consultant Lucy Lernelius shares a raft of reading materials, tools and training opportunities to help your organisation measure its impact.

Inspiring papers and blogs

How to apply systems thinking

Our team is really interested in systems thinking/change, and its application within evaluation. This fascinating paper on systems thinking brings together participatory systems mapping with one of our favourite tools – theory of change.

It’s great to see a practical example of how we can apply systems thinking within evaluation, as it can be a dauting subject. Don’t even ask about the systems thinking/fungal forest networks analogy we got tangled up in!

Focusing on the narrative

Linking nicely with the above, this blog about embracing narrative in the face of measuring complex systems and interventions really got us thinking. The spaces we work in are messy, political and complex, and this blog invites us to lean into the explanatory power of words to help “bridge the results-reality divide”.

Working to dismantle oppressive practices

At a recent away day, NCVO’s consultancy team worked on a set of principles for anti-oppressive consultancy. This is complex and sensitive work, so we were grateful to find inspiration in a blog from US-based evaluator Clare Nolan.

Nolan’s blog considers how we can move beyond performative expressions of solidarity towards genuinely anti-racist practices, and furthers the conversation around equity in evaluation.

Thought-provoking reports

Inspiring Impact evaluation and learning report

The UK-wide initiative Inspiring Impact has closed, but you can still access the Inspiring Impact resources over on NPC ‘s website. More resources will follow on NCVO’s website later this year.

So, what next? Social Value UK recently hosted an event to find out what small-to-medium-sized voluntary sector organisations need to measure impact effectively.

Sally Cupitt, an NCVO Associate who carried out the independent evaluation of Inspiring Impact, opened the event by presenting learnings from the programme. Discussions then focused how to ensure the sustainability of impact practice in the voluntary sector, and how we can bring funders on board with this journey.

Read the Inspiring Impact report to find out about the impact of this significant project, and what the sector needs in the future.

Black-led Impact Organisations: The lived experience

Black-led impact organisation and funder Do it Now Now reported the findings of its research into the experience of Black-led social impact organisations in the UK voluntary sector.

The report explores how staff at these organisations face systemic barriers and a lack of support, which impedes success and access to funding. Read the Black-led Impact Organisations report to learn more.

Covid-19 emergency funding package: Final report

The Department for Culture Media and Sport has released the final evaluation report for the £750m covid-19 emergency funding package for the voluntary sector, prepared by NatCen Social Research. The report shows the fund met most of its key aims, including supporting grant holders to continue core services, and adapt or innovate services during the pandemic to reach those in need.

Read the full evaluation of the covid-19 emergency funding package for more details.

Useful tools

Give decision trees a go

As evaluators, we love a beautiful diagram. We’ve identified two decision trees you can use to support your evaluative work – one to help you choose an evaluation method, and another to help you capture your data.

Improve your interviewing skills

With face-to-face data collection now back on the agenda, it’s a great time to refresh your skills on one of the most common qualitative methods: the interview. This graphic novel by Dr Helen Kara and Sophie Jackson is a creative and accessible resource for learning about the interview process and its ethical considerations. Enjoy!

Inspire the next generation

Finally, if you need a mindful break or a way to get your kids started on their evaluation journeys early, Viable Insights has produced an evaluator’s activity book about the beauty of growth and transformation.

Train with NCVO

We continue to run accessible and affordable online courses to help you measure impact. We’ll make sure your learning needs are met through interactive, live sessions with knowledgeable trainers – with discounts for NCVO members.

Here’s what’s coming up:

We can also come to you! Our courses can be delivered virtually online or face to face. For more information, contact NCVO’s consultancy team.

Not an NCVO member? Find out more about membership.

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Lucy joined NCVO’s Consultancy Team in 2022, with over 10 years’ experience in research, evaluation and management in the voluntary, public and higher education sectors. She has worked on projects ranging from local community events and social justice campaigns, up to multi-million pound funded initiatives affecting thousands of people.

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