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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'll 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 effective and of the highest quality. 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Evaluation and impact reporting

    Identify what difference your work has made, what has gone well and where you can improve. This section explores how to generate evaluation findings and to report clearly in an appropriate format.

  • How to analyse qualitative data for evaluation

    Qualitative data is data that is not numerical. It may include open-ended responses to questionnaires, data from interviews or focus groups, or creative responses such as photographs, pictures or videos. Analysing qualitative data will help you produce findings on the nature of change that individuals or organisations you work with have experienced. You may also be able to look at what aspects of the way you work have led to change. Analysis involves finding patterns and themes in the data you have collected for your evaluation. Analysing your data will help you report on it effectively and use it to make decisions . You may have started your evaluation with questions you wanted to answer – for example, have we achieved our intended outcomes, or have we reached the individuals and organisations that we expected to? Analysis will help you to answer these questions.  

  • How to build a theory of change

    A theory of change is a description of why a particular way of working will be effective, showing how change happens in the short, medium and long term to achieve the intended impact . It can be represented in a visual diagram, as a narrative, or both. A theory of change can be developed at the beginning of a piece of work (to help with strategic planning), or to describe an existing piece of work (so you can evaluate it). It is particularly helpful if you are planning or evaluating a complex, initiative but can also be used for more straightforward projects. See more in our summary of the uses of theory of change . It is helpful to involve a variety of stakeholders when you develop a theory of change – you could include staff, trustees, beneficiaries, partners and funders. The development process, and the thinking involved, is often as important as the diagram or narrative you produce. A theory of change should be: • credible – based on previous experience and insight from your different stakeholders or relevant research where appropriate • achievable – you have the necessary resources to carry out the intervention • supported – your stakeholders will be involved in defining and agreeing your theory of change, which builds support for it • testable – a complete but not over-complicated description of your work and its outcomes, with prioritised outcomes for measurement and indicators to collect data against them. Examples provided in this How To are based on a hypothetical theory of change for a youth unemployment project.

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