Louise Bowen, Knowledge & Networks Officer, Evaluation Support Scotland explains how by networking they have created a space for improving impact.
Networking for impact
Inspiring Impact’s partner in Scotland Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) is a long-time advocate of peer learning and our experience is that people really value opportunities to make new connections and learn with, and from, their colleagues from across the third sector. Feedback from earlier Inspiring Impact (II) Champions events has been ‘do more events like this!’ so we’ve expanded our programme from one full-day event to three half-days per year.
Sharing our evaluation challenges
2017-18 events have been developed in response to the impact challenges identified by participants at our August 2017 event (where we launched our latest impact publication Making It Stick- a guide to embedding evaluation). Events focus on networking with a purpose and involve activities to facilitate solution-finding and learning from each other: Getting staff, volunteers and trustees on board (December 2017); sharing tools for evaluation (March 2018) and sharing news & feedback from your evaluation (coming up in June). So far we’ve welcomed guest speakers from Changeworks, Volunteer Edinburgh and the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland who’ve shared their learning to help us unravel some of the ‘knotty problems’ of impact practice.
Participants in our II network events reflect the variety of types of role and fields of work within the third sector; however they are united by a common interest in learning about impact! By asking people to bring their own examples of good practice (e.g. tools for evaluation) to the events, and building in ‘free’ space for moving around tables to share and ask questions (without the pressure of ‘show and tell’ at the front of the class), we’ve seen some great peer support and feedback happen. We’ve also found that the diversity of roles and areas of work has really added richness to conversations as people exchange their perspectives and experiences of what evaluation is for, and why they need it.
Connecting through #impactchats
We’re also trialling #impactchats on Twitter during the last week of every month. Tweeting from @KNO_EvalSupScot we’re asking questions and sharing resources on a different impact practice theme each month. If you’re looking for an evaluation tool, have examples of good practice to share or need to ask a burning impact practice question then get involved using the #impactchats hashtag! Chats are open to all and we’d love to see a community of interest and peer support grow!
For more information about Inspiring Impact in Scotland email Louise