Supporting VCSEs to Measure and Show the Difference They are Making

We have been busy recently supporting a number of organisations to evaluate their work by helping them develop a theory of change and project outcomes, and applying appropriate methods to generate data and evidence progress against their outcomes. 

These include:

PTA UK: Building Stronger Communities through Volunteering in Schools - Pilot project final evaluation report

CENI was pleased to assist the PTA in its evaluation of the ‘Building Stronger Communities through Volunteering in Schools’ pilot project in Northern Ireland. CENI provided guidance on the design and conduct of the evaluation; carried out focus group sessions with parent volunteers; analysed the data gathered and also reviewed and provided feedback to PTA on the structure and content of the final report. 

Chivonne Preston, Business and Operations Director, PTA said:

“CENI’s analysis of responses provided core material for our final evaluation report which, under their guidance, we were confident contained a full review of the project, its outcomes and our learnings.  In CENI we found an expert, professional evaluation partner with whom we would be delighted to work again should the opportunity arise.”

Evaluation of Advice NI’s Older People’s Projects

In 2014 CENI was commissioned by Advice NI to evaluate three projects designed to promote digital inclusion and benefit uptake amongst older people:

·         ‘POP NI portal’, an online community guide funded by Atlantic Philanthropies over 3 years from April 2013

·         ‘Manage Your Money Better’, a complementary outreach project to POP NI funded by Comic Relief for a 3-year period, which began in July 2013. 

·          ‘Supporting Active Engagement’, a digital inclusion and benefit uptake project which is being funded by the Big Lottery Fund over a 5-year period from April 2013.

Our approach was to focus on ‘what is the difference the projects want make?’ rather than simply counting or describing their activities and outputs. We developed a common outcomes framework against which projects could align their work and which could be used to inform the collections of data.  This provided a means of reflecting on the commonalities, as well as the differences across the projects and helped to capture the interconnectedness between them. It also provided an opportunity to look beyond ‘deliverables’ to a broader perspective of what has been achieved. We produced a report of the evaluation findings which showed a substantial evidence base to demonstrate the contribution that such digital inclusion projects can make.




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