Learning from Covid

Covid-19 has changed the way we all work. Third sector organisations have adapted to deliver services online, meet new and emerging needs and find new ways of working. ESS supports the third sector to evaluate and learn about their response to the crisis in order to help them strengthen their response and their recovery and guide future strategy.

We can help third sector organisations use evaluation to:

  • Celebrate success
  • Check they are doing the right things in the right way
  • Find out what to keep doing or stop doing in future
  • Share learning with others

Methods and tools to help you capture evidence 

Resources to help you make sense of your evidence

  • Resetting after Covid-19

    This useful guide discusses exercises that a third sector organisation can take to reflect on Covid-19 learning, ultimately leading to self improvement.

  • Crisis to Recovery (Part 1 of 2)

    This is part 1 of 2 videos that contain tips and ideas to help you use your evaluation learning from Covid-19 to plan your future. They summarise the key points in our written guide ‘Resetting after Covid’.

  • Crisis to Recovery (Part 2 of 2)

    This is part 2 of 2 videos that contain tips and ideas to help you use your evaluation learning from Covid-19 to plan your future. They summarise the key points in our written guide ‘Resetting after Covid’.

  • Challenges and Changes due to Covid-19: Useful questions for analysis and reporting

    This 2-page document has a list key questions you can ask as you analyse your evaluation data and get ready to report on challenges and changes due to Covid-19.

  • Learning from Evaluation – Recording of webinar/interview with ESS Director Steven Marwick in June 2020 about using data and learning to inform the future. Event ran by Corra foundation and Wren and Greyhound.

Evaluating the Impact of a Partnership Case Studies

In 2021, ESS ran Working Together Better – a peer learning programme to help third sector organisations and their statutory sector partners to evaluate and learn about the impact of their partnerships during the Covid-19 crisis. In these case studies below, staff from organisations that worked together share their experience of evaluating their partnership.


Crisis to Recovery Case Studies

In 2020 and 2021 ESS supported sixteen projects affected by the Covid-19 crisis to evaluate and learn about their response to the crisis. See below for short inspiring case studies.  This work was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.  Many organisations are still finding the RSA matrix helpful when reflecting and planning. 


Why Evaluate? Mini-Case Studies

These short case studies written early in the pandemic show how organisations used simple evaluation to shape their crisis response.

Setting Outcomes case study


Evaluating on-line services

The principles for evaluating on-line are the same as any evaluation:

  • Keep evaluation simple
  • Build evaluation into the delivery of activities
  • Ask service users how they want to feedback – and tell them what you do with it

Here are some resources to help:


Other Resources


Please adapt any of our tools to meet your own needs – we’d just ask you to reference ESS. 

Looking for support from us?

Please get in touch if you want help evaluating your Covid-19 response or with online evaluation. Contact us for help and advice.