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  • Using evaluation findings for communicating with trust funders

    Laura Alcock-Ferguson, director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, shares how the charity used their evaluation findings as a critical tool in subsequent funding applications.

  • How to use creative reporting formats for evaluation

    If you’ve gone through the effort of planning an evaluation, collecting your data and analysing it, you will want to make sure your findings are used. You could use them to improve your work, communicate to funders and donors or engage external audiences. Communicating your findings in a way that will encourage people to read them and take action is crucial.

  • How to use your evaluation findings to improve your work

    Evaluating projects, programmes – or even the work of your whole organisation – can be a transformational step in making sure the work you do is of the highest quality, making it as effective as possible, based on robust evidence. Without a focus on improvement and learning, evaluation becomes a tick-box exercise; something that has to be done to please someone else. Used effectively, your findings can shape the work you do in the future and focus attention on how to achieve your intended outcomes and impact. In short, it can bring you closer to realising the change your organisation wants to see.

  • How to share your evaluation findings with funders and donors

    A prime audience for your evaluation findings is likely to consist of people who have directly – or indirectly – supported your activities. Over the last 10 years, the voluntary sector has seen huge changes in the way it is financially supported. NCVO’s UK Civil Society Almanac  notes the switch from government grants to government contracts – resulting in big changes in the way charities report and account for their progress. The biggest giver to the voluntary sector is the general public. Over half of all voluntary sector income comes from individuals – through buying services, regular donations, one-off causes or legacies. Sharing your evaluation findings with the organisations and individuals that fund your work isn’t just about bureaucratic reporting; it is our collective responsibility to account for how we spend other people’s money and to demonstrate that it is has been used well. Your evaluation can also be a powerful tool for attracting further funding.

  • How to use your evaluation findings to engage external audiences

    One of the key principles in Inspiring Impact’s Code of Good Impact Practice (pdf, 496KB) is for organisations to share findings and learning. This takes you beyond an impact culture within your organisation to a collective impact culture with others. It is about celebrating success, reflecting on obstacles, and extending your learning to those who have a shared interest in the impact you’re trying to achieve. Sharing your evaluation findings can be exciting for you and your organisation. If you have a positive story to tell, it can be a moment of celebration of your achievements and the work you have done. If things haven’t gone as you expected, there is a still a lesson to be shared: what happened, what you learnt, and what you’re going to do next.

  • How to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework

    Developing a monitoring and evaluation framework helps clarify which pieces of information to collect to evidence your story of change. It is good practice to include people who will be collecting the data when you develop your framework. You could also involve beneficiaries, volunteers, trustees, partner organisations or funders. Ideally, write your framework before your project starts so you can make sure you are collecting appropriate data from the beginning. Examples provided in this How To are based on a hypothetical monitoring and evaluation framework for a project looking to improve access to employment for people leaving prison.

  • How to create a Planning Triangle

    The planning triangle, developed by NCVO Charities Evaluation Services , is a basic form of theory of change, and is widely used for impact planning. It’s a simple tool which helps you reflect on, and clarify, the connections between the work you deliver and the difference it makes. You can create a triangle to help plan a new project, clarify the purpose of an existing project, or communicate the value of your work to funders and other audiences. The triangle’s simple format makes it best suited for single projects or areas of work. If you have a more complex initiative, a theory of change could be more suitable.

  • How to run a focus group

    Suggestions on how to keep conversation focused and clarify key points. 

  • Using your evaluation findings

    Through evaluation, individuals and organisations have an opportunity to understand more about what they’re doing, how things are (or aren’t) working, and why. Using this learning to reflect, adapt and change is a vital part of what makes evaluation useful – and what will make your activities, programmes or organisation a success.

  • Reporting your findings

    Once you have analysed your data you can set out clear evaluation findings and recommendations in an impact report.

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