This is a guest blog written by Steven Marwick from Evaluation support Scotland, based on messages from The National Lottery Community Fund grantholders from their support event in March 2019.
The National Lottery Community Fund is keen that grantholders share learning about their impact and learning about overcoming challenges. So that means evaluation is really important. The Fund’s own research tells us that many grantholders are comfortable with evaluation but first-time grantholders, in particular, are a little nervous about getting it “right”.
The good news is you can get help; the Fund has lots of useful guidance and grantholders can access direct help from us at Evaluation Support Scotland.
But there’s no substitute for picking up tips from your peers, so what do other grantholders say about evaluation?
Earlier this year, Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) and the Fund brought together a group of grantholders to share their evaluation journey with us and each other. They distilled their wisdom into key messages. We hope you find them helpful.
- Keep your evaluation simple!
- You aren’t social scientists – it doesn’t need to be perfect. Learn to live with complexity and imperfection
- Embed evaluation right through the running of your project. Work out early on what you need to measure and collect evidence as you deliver the project
- Share information on the purpose of evaluation with everyone in your team – get everyone on board
- Share your learning and your practice: it’s very helpful for others in the sector and funders to hear your experiences
- Don’t lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing. Identify the need from your project and refer back to it often
- Make evaluation your own
- Don’t panic! But if you are worried – ask your Funding Officer or ESS for help.
Thank you to grantholders The Ecology Centre, Bridging the Gap, Art in Healthcare, Edinburgh Garden Partners and Cyrenians.
If your organisation has a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland you can access free training and support – just contact your funding officer.