Funders guidance - Plan

Plan

Careful, realistic planning lays the foundation for good impact practice. Accordingly, ‘Plan’ is the longest section of Measuring Up. The questions raised are relevant to all funders, whatever their size, shape or ambition in terms of being able to plan, evidence, understand, communicate and learn from their impact.

Accountability is fundamental to a funder’s work. You may be accountable to stakeholders that include investors, trustees and governing bodies, the wider public and the end users: the ultimate beneficiaries of your funding. Collecting data to evidence how your funding impacts on people or communities is necessary to demonstrate accountability. Focusing on impact practice will also support learning and improvement, identifying what approaches work and what do not, allowing you to consider how you can make even more of a difference. This will help you to allocate resources and improve your funding.

Good impact practice starts with planning. Planning requires you to reflect on how and why you think your funding can make a difference. You will also need to be clear about the difference you want those you fund to make (if you are funding organisations). All of this will define what funding you give and projects you will support.

The information you and your grantees gather should be collected with a purpose. Setting goals for impact measurement will determine the depth and detail of information that you set out to collect, both internally and from your grantees, as well as how you intend to collect it. We offer advice throughout the guidance on how to collect evidence on impact, focusing on the longer-term view. You will need to take care to apply proportionate and appropriate rigour and resources.

Planning for funders needs to take on board what you collect directly from grantees, what you collect directly from end beneficiaries, what grantees collect from beneficiaries, and what may be collected by consultants either at grantee level or at the level of wider funding programmes. The data collected should be quality controlled to ensure it is robust, particularly if you are one step removed from the end beneficiaries and reliant on the data generated by the organisations that you fund.

Funders who want to influence policy or to explore the efficacy of a new type of programme or initiative will require a higher standard of evidence. The amount and type of information you collect should also reflect the size of the funded organisation, the resources available to it, and the amount of funding itself. We explore this issue of standards of evidence and proportionality throughout the guidance provided.

1.1 We use information on need and on existing resources and other assets to help set our funding priorities

Gathering information about both the needs of beneficiary communities, and also the resources available to them, is an important first step when setting funding priorities. This data gathering can help to identify existing skills, experience and physical assets, such as building and green spaces.

Your beneficiaries may be at a number of levels

  • First-line beneficiaries including: organisations to which you provide unrestricted funding; organisations to which you provide funding for the delivery of specific goods and services; individuals that you fund, for example to carry out research with societal benefits
  • End beneficiaries with whom your grantees are working
  • A wider community or society benefiting from improved policy and practice, for example, as a result of funded services or programmes

You may already have substantial information on needs in your areas of interest, but new research may be needed on current priorities and developments, or you may be wishing to fund new priorities.

Look at data and relevant statistics and reports to get information on:

  • The area or region your funding will cover
  • The state of current knowledge, practice, or service provision
  • The group you want to benefit and the problems they face
  • The type of organisation working to address the issues and models of work

Once you have clarified the need for your funding, you can start defining how you plan to make a difference through your funding, laying the foundations for good impact practice.

This criterion is fully met if:

You can describe the need for your funding and you can evidence that need using available information.

What next?

If you’ve met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Undertaking or commissioning research
  • Undertaking your own research into the particular needs of your intended beneficiaries will add more depth to your understanding of the issues they face.

You can gather this information by examining existing literature, looking at what other funders are doing on this issue, gathering information from your grantees and evaluating funded projects and programmes.

  • Working proactively to target ‘harder-to-reach’ individuals/groups

You may want your funding support to reach harder-to-reach groups, so it is important that you consider how to include their needs and views in research. You may need to think through how to get information from organisations working with hard-to-reach groups and address accessibility issues in seeking people’s views directly.

1.2 We can describe the type of organisation and activities that we will fund, and who will ultimately benefit from our funding

You are likely to have beneficiaries of your funding at a number of levels. In some cases individuals may be funded directly, but more often funding is provided to organisations – your first-line beneficiaries who will make a difference for your intended target group – your end beneficiaries.

Being able to describe your target group – the main group/s in society that you want to make a difference to with your – is an important step in defining your purpose. This means that it’s also an important step in focusing on your impact.

Your target group/s could be identified by geographical area, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or by health status or disability. You may also want to identify socio-economic groups, such as single parents, children excluded from school or homeless people.

Once you have defined those groups in society who will benefit from your funding, and their needs, you will be in a better position to identify the type of organisation and the type of work you will fund, such as educational, service delivery or campaigning, and appropriate levels of funding.

The question of how much funding a group requires to be able to run a successful intervention requires knowledge of the target group, their needs and then the most effective intervention to meet that need. Only then can you put in adequate resources to achieve the intended impact.

This criterion is fully met if:

You can describe the beneficiaries from your funding, differentiating between first line and end beneficiaries where relevant, the type of organisation you wish to support and the appropriate level of funding for the programme of funding.

What next?

If you’ve met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Describing different sub-groups within your target group
  • Unpicking the different groups hidden within your target group will help you to focus your funding to appropriate grantees and services.

It will also help you to clarify with grantees the difference you want to make and the impact information that you require.

  • Identifying other groups and audiences that may benefit indirectly

There may also be others that will benefit indirectly from your funding. This may be grantees’ partner organisations, for example, or a wider community or audience if there is broader learning from the funded work or your funding practice. Being clear about this will help you to explicitly fund work that will have this secondary benefit where appropriate.

1.3 We have a clear mission statement and specific aims, setting out our purpose and reflecting our values

Your mission statement outlines your overall purpose, as well as the core values underpinning your work. Setting out your overall purpose as a funder will help you to define more specific aims. This will help you to identify the wide-reaching change that you would like to see from your funding. This is also known as your impact. This can include the effects on funded organisations, on those groups in society affected directly and indirectly by the funded work, and wider change, such as government policy, that can be attributed to the effects of the work.

Defining your overall purpose and the changes that you would like to create begins the discussion about how you will measure the difference your work makes. As well as involving staff and trustees or board in the planning process, it may be useful to involve other funders, organisations that you have funded in the past and other organisations already providing services in your area of interest.

This criterion is fully met if:

Your work is guided by a document which clearly sets out your overall purpose and the core values that underpin your work.

What next?

If you’ve met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Making sure that your mission statement and core values are agreed on and recognised by the whole project or organisation
  • Involving people in putting your mission statement together, and making sure that the end document is recognisable to everyone within your project or organisation (including staff and your board) will make it a more powerful guiding document.
  • Making sure that your mission statement and core values are written into all of your key documents, and that people are clear about how they influence your day-to-day work
  • Writing your core values and mission statement into your key documents will help to embed them and bring them to life. A clear focus on mission will help you focus on intended impact rather than just on service delivery.

1.4 We can describe the positive outcomes that we want to achieve through our funding and target our funding to achieve this

Outcomes are the changes, benefits, learning or other effects that happen as a result of the work you fund. Your funding programme will potentially produce any number of outcomes for different groups, both positive and negative, planned or unexpected.

Outcomes are not the same as outputs, which refer to the activities, services and products provided by a project or organisation. The outcomes of the funded work describe the difference that your funding makes, and not the work itself.

For example:

A youth group runs sexual health workshops with local young people. The output is the workshop – the service that they deliver. The outcome is what changes for the young people as a result of participating – an increased understanding of how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

It is helpful to communicate clearly the outcomes you want to achieve to potential grantees. You will then be in a better position to direct your funding towards activities that will help you achieve your intended outcomes and to work in closer partnership with grantees.

This criterion is fully met if:

You have defined positive outcomes that you hope to achieve for different groups and support your grantees to understand and contribute towards these outcomes, as appropriate.

What next?

If you’ve met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Developing outcomes for specific pieces of funded work in partnership with grantees
  • Working in partnership with grantees to agree outcomes for specific funded work will help to ensure that they are informed by their knowledge and experience of the difference that their products and services can make. It will help you to define outcomes that are realistic and relevant to the end beneficiaries and will give you a basis for developing agreed and shared measures of impact with the grantees.

1.5 We can describe how and why our funding makes a difference to beneficiaries (our ‘theory of change’)

By describing the link between the work that you resource (the outputs of your funding) and the changes that it creates for individuals (the outcomes of your funding) and the wider change or benefits (the impact of your funding), you are setting out how and why you plan to make a difference. This is also known as developing your theory of change – creating a story or narrative about the changes that you want to create through your funding.

As well as spelling out how you think your funding creates changes for beneficiaries, your theory of change document will guide your decisions about what information you might need to collect in order to evidence the extent to which this narrative is correct. It is also an excellent starting point for strategic planning and for marketing and communications.

Theories of change are often, but not always, presented as visual maps with accompanying narratives. However you choose to present your theory of change, it should be:

Credible –based on previous experience and insight from different stakeholders, or from research.
Achievable – do you have the necessary resources to make the differences you describe?
Testable – your theory of change document will need to be linked in to your plans for collecting evidence.
Supported – have you involved all the right stakeholders in the process, and do they all agree with the way your work is described?

This criterion is fully met if:

You have a document which describes or maps out the connection between your funding, the work that it resources and the difference that you plan to make for immediate beneficiaries and in the longer and broader term. This document should be credible, achievable, supported, and linked in to your plans for collecting evidence.

What next?

If you’ve met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Including details of the timeframe in which you expect changes to happen
  • Mapping timescales for when you expect beneficiaries to experience outcomes and at what stages they receive outputs will give you a more detailed understanding of when and how your funding could make a difference through a range of organisations. It can also help you to understand the ‘journey’ that beneficiaries experience when using those organisations’ services.
  • Including details of the resources you will need, the type of organisations and work you will fund, and the partners you will need at each stage
  • Including information about the resources you will need (your inputs) and the partners that you will need to collaborate with for your funding to achieve its expected impact. This will help you to produce a theory of change document that is realistic and a useful tool for strategic planning.

1.6 We consider the activities of other funders and partners with similar aims to ours, in order to achieve better outcomes for beneficiaries

Neither funders nor their grantees operate in a vacuum, and the work of other agencies and services will have an effect on the impact that you and your grantees achieve. As a funder you might consider how your funding might complement or strengthen other resource inputs both into specific interventions and across an area of work; very often services within an organisation are funded from a variety of sources. You might wish to engage in more formal joint funding to achieve greater impact in a particular field, to campaign more effectively, or to ensure greater collaboration, coverage and effectiveness at the level of service provision and delivery.

This collaboration is likely to increase your shared impact. It will also make it more difficult to attribute change to your specific funding (see 3.6). Encourage grantees to describe how their expected outcomes overlap with those of other organisations. It may be helpful to look for possibilities for shared outcomes and shared indicators of change, and ways of measuring overall impact, and to assess the contribution your funding has made to the whole.

It will be important also to encourage grantees to describe and consider how other organisations are working towards similar outcomes for their beneficiaries, or might affect the outcomes. For example, local services working with vulnerable people are likely to support some of the same people simultaneously.

This criterion is fully met if:

Your funding takes account of how your funding priorities might overlap with those of other funders and uses this information to fund work that is collaborative or complementary, so as to increase your ability to make a difference. You will also support your grantees to consider who else is doing similar work and how they intend to work with them.

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

Targeting your funding in ways that will explicitly strengthen other resource inputs and encouraging your grantees to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes for beneficiaries, including the use of third party information from partner agencies

Recognising the importance of respective contributions to outcomes will allow you to increase your shared impact and help you to measure the specific contribution your funding makes at the level of specific interventions and at the level of your wider funding programme.

Encouraging your grantees to develop shared measurement frameworks or plans to measure change over the longer term with partner agencies

Supporting your grantees to develop a plan for impact measurement together with partner agencies will help them to gather information that evidences the role of each agency in achieving outcomes. This will also help them to measure the more broad-reaching, longer-term changes that come out of their work together – helping them to evidence their contribution to their collective impact.

1.7 We are clear about the information that we need both for reporting at a board level and for internal learning

Before you begin collecting evidence from your grantees or elsewhere, it is important to be clear about which information you need in order to be able to meet your reporting requirements to your trustees, board or other governing entity in order to focus and report on the impact of your funding. It will also help you to make sure that you have all the information that you need internally to learn and improve your funding programme. Clarifying this at the planning stage will help you to avoid collecting information that you don’t need, or missing out something vital.

It will also help you to set priorities about the information you most need to collect – this is fundamentally important for building a plan for collecting evidence that matches your available resources. It may not be realistic to measure everything and impact measurement should not take up a disproportionate amount of time and money. Focusing on measuring a prioritised number of things well, rather than trying to measure everything, is often a more straightforward and robust approach and will be less burdensome for your grantees if you’re asking them to conduct measurement. You will also need to encourage your grantees to only collect the data that you and they most need for reporting and learning.

This data collection on impact is distinct from, though related to, grant monitoring of expenditure and activities, and it requires a different focus.

This criterion is fully met if:

You have defined which information you need to collect in order to be able to report to your trustees or governing entity, and for learning and improving your programme

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Regularly reviewing what information you need to be able to learn from your funding programme and make management decisions.

As your work changes and develops over time, you may decide that you need different information in order to learn about and improve your impact. Regularly reviewing your information needs will make sure that you have the right information to help you continuously improve what you do.

1.8 We know what information to collect from grantees to show progress towards our intended aims, and how to collect it

In order to assess how well you are progressing towards the aims of your funding, you will need to collect a mixture of output and outcomes data from your grantees. Many funders have traditionally focused on collecting output data but by expanding this to collect information on the changes as a result of your funding, you will be able to have a clearer understanding of the full effects of your funding.

Support your grantees to set output indicators and outcome indicators – well-defined, easily measurable information about the outputs and outcomes of their work. Output indicators are usually quantitative – that is, they collect numbers and statistics. For example, if an organisation provided a helpline, their output indicators might be:

  • Number of calls received
  • Number of individual callers
  • Length of calls

You may wish to support your grantees to collect some qualitative information as well – that is, more descriptive information. For example, the helpline could collect descriptive information about the issues that were raised by callers.

You will also need to encourage your grantees to set indicators for the type of people accessing their services (for example, ethnic group, sexuality, gender, and age). This will help them to understand whether or not they are reaching their target groups, and whether or not their services are fully accessible. Try to use standard categories for things like ethnicity so you can compare your grantees’ results with those from other organisations and with national statistics.

Outcome indicators are the signs that the outcome has happened, or that progress is being made towards it. They can be quantitative (measuring the number of changes that happened) and qualitative (describing people’s perceptions and experiences).

There will be a number of possible indicators with each outcome. As with outcomes themselves, you and your grantees should identify and use only the most relevant ones, to keep evidence collection proportionate and streamlined.

For front-line work, the outcome indicators will usually reflect change in the end beneficiaries. For example, indicators in an employment project could include:

  • Number who have progressed into volunteering, training or employment
  • Level of confidence reported by beneficiaries
  • Support grantees to map these out in a framework; this will help ensure that nothing important is left out of the data collection plan.

At a minimum, the framework should include outputs, outcomes, indicators, tools (see 1.9 below for further advice on tools) to be used and who will collect the data. An example can be seen below for a programme to increase youth employment.

  • Outcome
  • Indicators
  • Information collection tools
  • Who and when
  • Improved job search skills
  • Numbers with a CV
  • Ability to identify suitable jobs
  • Ability to complete application form
  • Whether they present themselves appropriately
  • Case file
  • Self-assessment form
  • Staff observation grid
  • Case worker
  • At assessment/ review sessions

By aggregating this detailed data from grantees across your funded programmes, you can assess achievement of your own planned outcomes and examine the impact of your funding.

This criterion is fully met if:

You have supported your grantees to design a framework or mapping document which sets out what information is going to be collected on their outputs and outcomes, who grantees are working with and how and when this data will be collected.

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Encouraging your grantees to consult their stakeholders about outcomes and indicators
  • Robust and measureable indicators are important for convincing measurement, so it will be helpful for key outcome indicators to be agreed from the outset. Where grantees can consult with their beneficiaries this will help to identify indicators that are meaningful.
  • Encouraging grantees to include a description of how the information will be used

Adding this information to the framework will provide an additional check to make sure that no one is collecting anything unnecessary, and that all of the priority outputs and outcomes are included.

1.9 We choose data collection tools that meet our information needs, suit our context and we support our grantees to do the same

The type of tools and methods you and your grantees use to collect data should be in proportion to your information needs. For example, if you are testing a new type of project, or if you want to gather evidence that is robust enough to influence policy change, you may encourage grantees to use a validated tool – that is, one that has been developed and tested by academics or impact measurement specialists. You may decide to introduce a validated tool across a whole funded programme. However, if you are collecting information on unrestricted grants directly from grantees, or your information about end beneficiaries is more straightforward, custom-designed data collection tools are likely to be adequate.

Common methods include questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. In order to collect good quality evidence, data collection tools should be appropriate to how grantees and you as a funder will use the information provided.

Support your grantees to consider tools that will work best in the context of their particular work and for their users, and that will provide data that can be easily collected. For example, care needs to be taken in using formal questionnaires with young people in a youth work setting, as they may find it dull or difficult to understand, resulting in poor data.

The amount of time and skills available in grantee organisations should also be considered when choosing tools. In order to avoid grantees collecting a large amount of information which they are unable to use, it is also important to consider their capacity to store and analyse it. As a funder you should consider whether you wish to make resources available for external expertise, or to build skills, such as in IT.

This criterion is fully met if:

You have selected, or supported your grantees to select, data collection tools that can capture all of the information you and they need. Tools should make data collection easy for your beneficiaries, and suit the time and skill level of those people responsible for collecting and analysing the data.

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can improve your practice by:

  • Including a validated tool in the range of data collection tools where appropriate

Introducing a validated tool into your plan for data collection can sometimes improve the standard of evidence that you collect. If many other organisations are using the same validated tool, it may also allow you to compare your outcomes against other people who are doing the same sort of work (benchmarking). However, validated tools only collect good quality data if they are used in a relevant and appropriate setting and in the right way, so you will still need to think carefully about whether or not they are right in the particular context.

  • Developing or agreeing a shared data collection tool
  • Having a shared data collection tool where appropriate across a funded programme will make it easier to collate information.
  • Supporting your grantees through capacity building

In order to improve grantees’ ability to manage data collection, funders may need to provide additional resources and support through training, technical assistance (for example from your grant officers) or funding.

1.10 We agree with our grantees realistic targets that set out expectations of what will be achieved

Checking the grantee’s progress in relation to targets for both outputs and outcomes can help both you and your grantee to track whether your funding is being used as planned.

It is important that you consult with your grantees to set realistic targets that are time-specific and clearly set out what success looks like. The initial targets should be agreed before a project starts. If when delivering the project it becomes clear that the targets were over or under ambitious, a degree of flexibility may be required by the funder to allow grantees to re-set the targets to a realistic level. They should not add up to more than your grantees’ capacity.

When thinking about setting reasonable targets, consider:

  • The funding provided and grantee resources more widely
  • What grantees have achieved before
  • What similar interventions have achieved

When agreeing targets you should be clear of the extent to which you are funding the whole of the work or part of the work. It should be clear whether targets relate to the whole of the funded services (which may receive resources from multiple sources) and the outcomes that they achieve, or part of it. If your funding is part of a complex funding input from other sources, it may be difficult or unrealistic to identify that portion of the work that you have funded.

This criterion is fully met if:

You agree with grantees realistic targets for priority outputs and outcomes that clearly describe what they plan to achieve. Targets should relate to the impact that you wish to have as a funder.

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can further improve your practice by:

  • Agreeing targets around the quality of the work delivered, as well as the quantity and outcomes
  • Including client satisfaction targets will help paint a clear picture of what success should look like in this area.
  • Consulting with grantees about progress towards meeting targets and adjusting them as appropriate in the light of evidence of what is achievable.

Regular progress reports should help you to assess whether initial targets set were realistic and achievable within the timescale and the resources available. Encouraging information from grantees and honest discussion will help you to understand whether services are being delivered as planned, and whether there are internal or external factors that act as enablers or constraints. Using this information, a decision can be made about adjusting targets and learning from the experience.

1.11 We look at the resources we have for focusing on impact, and those we give to grantees

Good impact practice requires a number of different resources – including staff time, IT, skills development, and money, (especially if you decide that you need external support from a consultant or specialist). Committing the right amount of resources to impact practice is crucial to doing it well. The expectations you have relating to the quality and quantity of evidence about impact should also be consistent with the resources available for data collection, analysis and reporting.

Assessing the resources, you can make available for measuring impact will help you to build a realistic plan for collecting and making sense of evidence to show your impact. It will also give you a more informed picture of the costs involved, which will help you to agree with trustees or board how much of your funding budget can be allocated to collecting, collating and analysing information and how much funding you will provide to grantees to ensure that they have the capacity to collect good quality information. You will need to encourage them to plan for, cost and resource impact practice. You may need to allow funding to be ring-fenced for this in any bid.

If you require cost-benefit information on specific pieces of funded work, or need a high level of evidence of proof that the funded intervention has caused by the outcomes (proof of ‘attribution’), this is likely to require specific technical evaluation expertise and an adequate allocated budget.

This criterion is fully met if:

You have a clear picture of the resources needed and available, including IT, money, staff time, and skills. You are able to identify where the resource gaps are and to explain how these could be met.

What next?

If you have met this criterion in full, you can further develop your practice by:

  • Building a clear plan for how to develop the resources available for impact practice

An identification of resource gaps may indicate a number of different potential responses. These may include building your own capacity, for example through improved IT systems, recruiting staff with specialist skills or more administrative staff, or engaging external consultancy. Improving the information you receive from grantees may suggest improving capacity in data collection through training and technical assistance, increasing the budget for monitoring and evaluation, or allocating specific funds for an external evaluation.

If you have identified resource gaps that make it difficult for you to focus on impact in the way that meets needs, you may need to address this in how you allocate resources. You need to be mindful of the particular context of your funding and that of your grantees.

Resources for this section

Principles of good evaluation practice

Does Your Money Make a Difference? is an NCVO Charities Evaluation Services guide for funders and commissioners that explores principles and provides practical examples. It includes resources and tools to improve monitoring and evaluation and ultimately the effectiveness of funding.

Harmonising Reporting is a report by the Scotland Funders’ Forum with support from Evaluation Support Scotland to set out the principles of good practice in reporting. It includes the Evaluation Declaration which sets out five key tenets of good practice on why monitoring, evaluation and reporting are important and what they should achieve and practical resources to support funders to implement reporting systems.

Using research to provide evidence of the need for your work

Neighbourhood Statistics is an online government portal that allows you to search 2011 census data and other government data sets. Enter your postcode to find statistics on demographic profile, crime rate, education, health, housing, deprivation, lifestyles, work and environment.

In Wales, you can access additional regional data on the StatsCymru website.

Scotland has a devolved body, The National Records of Scotland, which is the central location for government data.

Northern Ireland has the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency which also holds government data and other social research.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has a repository for indicators of poverty including unemployment, housing benefit and educational attainment.

Learn more about the difference between outputs, outcomes and impact

Next Steps: Monitoring and evaluation on a shoestring is a guide from NCVO Charities Evaluation Services for projects or organisations that wish to learn how to show the difference they make and improve their performance. [CANNOT BE FOUND]

Building Your Measurement Framework: NPC’s four pillars approach is a document detailing New Philanthropy Capital’s (NPC) four-pillar approach, which provides practical guidance on developing an impact measurement framework.

Support Guide 1.1: Clarifying your Aims, Outcomes and Activities is a guide from Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) that will help projects or organisations to work out what their outcomes are and how to write them. It clarifies the connection between what you do (your services and activities) and the impact you are trying to make (your outcomes).

Knowing what information to collect

Keeping on Track: A guide to setting and using indicators is an NCVO Charities Evaluation Services booklet that provides a step-by-step guide to setting and using indicators.

The guidance is illustrated by good-practice case studies, and takes account of what funders and commissioners regard as good quality indicators. It also offers practical guidance on how to set and use indicators that will help you to monitor your work effectively.

Mapping the description of how and why your work makes a difference (your theory of change)

Making Connections: Using a theory of change to develop planning and evaluation is an NCVO Charities Evaluation Services document that provides an overview of the theory of change approach and explains more about how the approach is used. It goes on to provide a greater detail through the several steps of developing a theory of change and discuss what you will need to include to make it most useful.

Theory of Change: The beginning of making a difference is a short NPC paper that introduces theory of change, explains the origins of the technique, and discusses how it can be used by charities to improve their work.

Developing a plan

Describe the Difference Your Work Makes is a guide designed to help projects or organisations plan for evaluation more effectively using a monitoring and evaluation framework. The foundations of the framework are built through using the NCVO Charities Evaluation Services Planning Triangle – a simple tool that helps you to reflect on, and clarify, the connections between the work you deliver and the changes that you create.

General impact support for funders

Inspiring Impact Hub is a one-stop shop for impact resources and tools. It pulls together the widest possible range of resources relevant to improving impact practice, and enables users to search and filter results according to their needs.

Sign-up to the principles

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