By Evaluation Support Scotland
Evaluation Support Scotland (ESS) works with third sector organisations and funders so that they can measure and report on their impact.
Our services include ‘Let’s evaluate!’ workshops and tailored support sessions for third sector organisations. We deliver learning events (events for third sector organisations and funders to share learning together), as well as work on specific evaluation issues, such as evaluating health inequalities. We provide free online evaluation resources and webinars. We work with funders to offer evaluation support to their funded projects through Evaluation Support Accounts. We also convene the Third Sector Research Forum and Knowledge Translation Network.
Most of our work is face to face, well, that was until March 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we found ourselves, like so many others, working from home and delivering our services online.
Our initial step was to think about what third sector organisations would need to know about evaluating in this crisis. We developed key messages (in image) and resources to respond, such as
- Using contact forms to gather evidence during a call
- Method sheet: Taking stock in time of change
- Method sheet: Using social media to evaluate other activities
We set up a COVID-19 webpage so that organisations could quickly see new resources and events, which we continue to update. We communicated with our service users via e-bulletins and through social media.
We’ve learned a lot in a very short period of time about how to deliver our ‘Let’s Evaluate!’ workshops virtually via video conferencing. ESS Training Officer Shona Wells talks about how we deliver and evaluate these virtual workshop in this blog. We used the feedback to improve our practice and to celebrate.
“Thank you for today, I didn’t know how I felt about learning online but it worked really well.”
We are also delivering our tailored support sessions on Zoom, offering shorter sessions to accommodate the different learning experience.
In our ‘Evaluating in a time of change’ virtual peer learning event early in May we were able to hear from many third sector organisations who were struggling with evaluating the rapid changes to their services. We published the key messages from this event and reassured organisations that they were not alone!
Our advice is, yes it’s definitely challenging, but it’s important to keep evaluating now to motivate staff and volunteers, to make sure you are reaching those who need you most, and to inform your future services and post-COVID-19 recovery. ‘Keep it simple!’ is now and always has been our mantra. In response to the concerns voiced by third sector organisations and funders we’ve set up a series of ‘Why evaluate?’ webinars being delivered in June.
Working in partnership
ESS is working in partnership with other organisations such as SCVO, OSCR, Scottish Government and independent funders to ensure that third sector organisations are supported during this difficult time, and that third sector evidence about organisations’ response to the crisis is captured.
We will continue to listen to third sector organisations and funders and develop ways to meet their evaluation needs. If you have any comments or require our support, please do not hesitate to contact ESS at firstname.lastname@example.org
To cite this article: Evaluation Support Scotland, Evaluation Support Scotland’s response to COVID-19 pandemic – supporting third sector organisations and funders to learn in a crisis, Policy Scotland, 2 June 2020, https://policyscotland.gla.ac.uk/evaluation-support-scotlands-response-to-covid-19-pandemic-supporting-third-sector-organisations-and-funders-to-learn-in-a-crisis/
Image credit: Copyright Evaluation Support Scotland