This report summarises the learning from two ‘evaluation support accounts’ with Laidlaw Youth Trust and with Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland. The funders paid for funded charities to access support from ESS so those charities could measure and report on the outcomes of their work.
1. About three quarters of charities that accessed evaluation support improved their confidence, skills and systems to measure outcomes. The improvements in charities’ evaluation skills were most significant when the charity itself was motivated and positive about evaluation. Some charities made progress with only one contact with ESS. However generally we made the most difference with more than one contact with the charity – usually through a mix of workshop places and face to face tailored support sessions.
2. Around half of charities that accessed evaluation support produced good or excellent reports on outcomes. Some charities needed support on analysis and reporting and there was not always time to provide this. Other charities did not realise they needed it. But most charities that improved evaluation systems also improved their ability to report on outcomes.
3. A key factor in ensuring positive take up and impact of evaluation support is the active engagement of the funder. This includes making clear links between their reporting requirements and the support provided and giving feedback on charities’ reports.