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How can we make evidence easier?

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Very interesting article and very useful presentation. From memory, we were approached by NPC some years ago around this then new project but, rather disappointingly, the costs were totally out of our reach, as would be the case, I imagine, for most small charities. Ironically, it is often the smaller charities which need to prove their effectiveness most since they are, by definition, usually cut of the main consortium bids and potential funding streams, etc. In Outside Chance, we use a very simple Likert-style - 'A lot more' to 'Not at all' - Feedback Form - so many groups mistakenly call their feedback forms 'Evaluation Forms' which they are not. 'Evaluation' implies that you will do something more with your results other than use them for data recording purposes. In our workshops, we aim for an 'Overall Respondent Satisfaction Percentage Score' of 85%+ in all 8 questions - and in our bids. We regularly record overall average scores of 93% to 99% with 100% in some questions. This easy to follow Feedback Form gathers not only scores and impact but encourages comments from young people - 11 to 21 year olds are our target group - around new subjects for inclusion and feedback comments - good and bad! We take much more notice of the, thankfully, few 'bad' comments than the good. We have an 'attendee to response' ratio of around 35%, ie for every 3 attendees at our workshops, we receive 1 completed Feedback Form. Marketing companies would kill for this ratio! This means that we are gathering a very fair reflection of the impact we are having on our target groups. Funders have reported that they find the resulting Excel spreadsheets - one per project - detailing the questions, venues visited, numbers attending, numbers responding, percentage satisfaction scores, etc, all on a single A3 page, easy to follow and concise. It has also helped us hugely to develop and improve our reporting skills by having the services of Lynne Laidlaw, a former Clinks employee with a specialism in monitoring and evaluation, as one of our trustees.
Thanks Ian. It's true that consultancies like NPC can be out of reach for smaller charities, so good consultants like Lynne are often the best option. From our side, Improving Your Evidence has been a great opportunity to work with a wider range of organisations than we're usually able to. It sounds as though you have a very effective system for collecting feedback. The next stage would seem to be to collect evidence on longer-term impact. The Improving Your Evidence website has a lot of resources to help you with these issues: In particular, I'd suggest starting with our main evaluation guide, which you can find here

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