Trustees and their role in evaluation

This page is for trustees of third sector organisations who want to know more about evaluation and their role in evaluation. Throughout the page there will be links to our evaluation resources and webpages.

As a trustee you may be asking yourself:

Why do I need to know about evaluation in my organisation?

As a trustee it will be important to you that your organisation is:

  • making a difference to your service users
  • able to submit good quality reports to your funders
  • able to make evidence-based organisational decisions, and
  • continuously learning about how to improve your services

All of these can be met by having good evaluation processes in place. You might start by exploring the Evaluation Pathway:

Get started learning about evaluation

Evaluation Pathway

Navigating the evaluation pathway is one way of getting started or checking that you are progressing.

Get Started

What do I need to know?

  • How does our organisation evaluate its work?
  • Does our organisation have an evaluation plan?
  • Do we receive reports about the organisation’s activity and impact at board meetings?
  • Does each project have its own evaluation plan, and outcomes?
  • How do Trustees get involved in creating the Trustees’ Annual Report? (See ‘Where are the Trustees in the Annual Trustees Report‘ blog).

You may have a logic model which shows your short, medium and long term organisational outcomes. See ESS logic model guides below:

You can also check out ESS case studies for ideas about evaluation planning.

What can I do as a trustee?

  • Be enthusiastic about evaluation, be an evaluation champion.
  • Read your organisation’s past evaluation reports.
  • Ask questions about how your organisation is making a difference and what evidence it is based on, such as:
    • What are we learning?
    • Are we using our learning to improve our services and making decisions?
    • Can we use our learning to influence others working in the same field or to influence policy?

Questions to ask yourself and fellow trustees

  • Are we on board with evaluation, enthusiastic and want to know how the organisation benefits our service users?
  • Does the board receive appropriate evaluation reports and act on them?

What can ESS do?

Trustees are welcome to join their staff (or on their own) to attend our ‘Let’s Evaluate!‘ workshops and other ESS learning events. You may also want more tailored support.

Get in touch with ESS to discuss your evaluation needs.

Relevant Resources

Blogs

ESS resources about evaluation

External resources

The focus of this page is on trustees’ role in ensuring you know the difference your charity makes.  Of course you also want to know that your organisation is running well.  For more help on that see SCVO’s Good Governance page or the Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO).

Looking for support from us?

We’re here to help! Contact us for help and advice.