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In recent years, impact evaluation has become increasingly important in fundraising, as donors look for evidence that their support is having the desired effect and charities recognise their accountability to stakeholders to show they are meeting their charitable objects.
Today, most charities produce an impact report and this is often preceded by an impact evaluation.
Benefits of Impact Evaluations
Where a charity is seeking continuation funding, evaluations are sometimes a requirement
So how then do you go about conducting a project evaluation? There are two main options. Either you can conduct an evaluation inhouse, or you can use an external provider.
DIY Impact Evaluations
The advantages of doing it inhouse are that this method is cheaper and of course you already have an understanding of the work to be assessed. However, you may not have the experience or the time required to do the job effectively and the findings may be seen as subjective by funders.
External Impact Evaluations
Hiring an outside practitioner, while involving some cost, has the advantage of bringing additional capacity, as well as drawing on wider experience of evaluating projects across many organisations. An external evaluation is also seen by funders as more objective than one delivered inhouse and can often tell a charity things that internal staff either do not notice or are too shy to mention.
The Evaluation Process
Whichever route you choose, impact evaluations follow a similar process, involving the collection and scrutiny of documentation, the design of questionnaires, interviews with internal and external stakeholders, analysis and report writing. A good evaluation provides both valuable feedback and a blue print for improvement.
So impact evaluations are a good investment of time and resources and something that can help an organisation to stay ahead in fundraising. Increasingly, grant makers are expecting to see organisations conducting or commissioning them as part of their continuous improvement.
Please ask if you need help
If you have a project that needs to be evaluated or if you need help to create an impact report, please contact us today on 01785 663600 for a free initial discussion of your needs. We have considerable experience in conducting evaluations for clients and in writing fundraising copy, especially for those seeking grants from the National Lottery.
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