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  • Writer's pictureMartha Cox

Planning Your Evaluation Journey

Your commissioners, funders or Board are asking you to evaluate your organisation or a particular project. But where to start? You will need to measure what tangible change happens to the people who use your services, your staff, volunteers, local community, local environment and other factors as a result of your activities. What impact are you having? Developing an Impact Measurement Framework with measurement indicators will help you to plot what to measure, how and when.


Here are my seven easy steps to help you to plan this.


Step One

It might seem obvious but start by clarifying why you want to evaluate your organisation or project and what you hope to achieve by doing this.


Step Two

Co-produce a Theory of Change document that will map the logic underpinning your evaluation. This will:

  • define the problems and challenges that you as an organisation, or a project, exist to solve (the context)

  • outline how you go about solving those challenges (your daily activities)

  • state the resulting short, medium and long term change that occurs to whom and what as a result of your activities (outputs, outcomes and impact)


Step Three

Understanding the information you already collect. 

  • What qualitative and quantitative data are you already collecting? 

  • Where is it collected? How frequently? In what format? By whom? Where is it stored?


Step Four

Map your existing information collected with the outputs, outcomes and impact you’re after, as outlined in your Theory of Change document. What data corresponds with which output, outcome or impact?


Step Five

Identify your gaps. What additional information do you need to collect in order to measure, evaluate and demonstrate your stated outcomes and impact? 

  • Mix of qualitative and quantitative data?

  • Mix of lag (looking backwards at whether the intended result was achieved) and lead (looking forward at future outcomes and events) indicators

  • What information do other organisations collect and could you use it?

  • Who and where to collect data from?

  • What type of data to collect?

  • When and how often to collect the data?

  • How to collect it? Eg surveys, interviews


Step Six

Check your new data sources will contribute to the outcomes and impacts stated in your Theory of Change.

Together with the data you already collect, these can form your evaluation indicators as part of your Impact Measurement Framework and you can use these measures to show the change, or impact, that your organisation and its activities has on those who use your services, those who work or volunteer for you, your wider community, your local environment and others.


Step Seven

Finalise your Impact Measurement Framework in preparation for implementation and communication of your impact to your funders, commissioners and stakeholders.


If you would like further assistance on how to develop a Theory of Change

and an Impact Measurement Framework for your organisation then do get in touch to talk about how I can help on 0791 3257971 or engagement@martha-cox.com

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