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Charities Evaluation

  • NCVO Charities Evaluation Services is a leading evaluation consultancy for the voluntary sector. Over the last 25 years we have worked with tens of thousands of voluntary organisations and their funders and commissioners.

    Charities Evaluation Services was set up in 1990 to help the UK voluntary sector become more effective. Following the successful merger of Charities Evaluation Services and NCVO, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services (NCVO CES) was formed in November 2014. Our team of consultants works closely with around 20 associates. Many of our staff and associates have been with us for over ten years.

    Alongside our training and consultancy services, we have a range of practical, step-by-step guides to evaluation and impact assessment. Charities Evaluation Services’ guides published before our merger with NCVOare also available online. Prior to the merger we also produced PQASSO, the best-used voluntary sector quality assurance system; this is now managed by NCVO’s PQASSO team.

    How we work

    We have a deep understanding of best practice in evaluation and impact assessment but have all worked in front-line charities ourselves. As a result, our approach is robust yet pragmatic and flexible. We aim to get high-quality evaluation data in a user-friendly way, without overburdening our clients.

    Our approach is based on partnership. Working together to agree what is to be evaluated, and how, improves the evaluation.

    We believe that evaluation and impact assessment should be useful. We work closely with clients to ensure we get the information they need for accountability and developing their work.

  • Planning and reviewing your impact

    We can support you to build your own impact-focused funding approach. Our consultancy will help you identify the intended outcomes of your funding, commissioning or investments. We’ll support you in using models such as theory of change, so you can plan funding programmes, develop monitoring and evaluation systems, communicate the difference you want to make and attract applications that better meet your priorities. As well as our consultancy, we offer a training course specifically for funders, commissioners and investors.

    Understanding which types of project work best to achieve change helps with making effective, evidence-based funding decisions. We can independently evaluate the impact of your funding programmes to help you target your funding most effectively.

    Fill in our enquiry formto tell us about the support you need.

    Supporting organisations you fund

    Building evaluation skills among your funded organisations can help you gather meaningful information on the difference your money makes. We work with funders who would like to provide impact measurement training programmes and consultancy to organisations they commission or grant fund.

    Collecting information in a proportionate way can help you strengthen your relationships with funded organisations. We can review your reporting forms and train your funding officers to support projects effectively.

    Fill in our enquiry formto tell us about the support you need.

    Free information

    We provide guidance describing good practice in monitoring and evaluation by funders and commissioners, and which evaluation approach to adopt.

    Who we’ve worked with

  • Commissioning an independent evaluation from NCVO Charities Evaluation Services can provide robust evidence of your impact for your funders, beneficiaries and other stakeholders. We will explore what you do that is working effectively, and where you can improve in order to achieve more.

    We undertake a range of types of evaluation, including process and outcome evaluations; we can help you find out what works, how it works, for whom, and in what circumstances.

    We work with organisations to understand who their evaluation audiences are and how they will use the findings, so we can produce an evaluation that meets everyone’s needs. We make practical recommendations, working with organisations to develop these as appropriate.

    Our consultants are experienced researchers who have all previously worked in the voluntary sector. We will engage sensitively with staff members and beneficiaries involved in the evaluation.

    Fill in our enquiry formto tell us about the evaluation you need.

    Who we’ve worked with

    Read examples of our previous evaluations

  • Sally Cupitt, Head of NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    sally cupittSally leads NCVO Charities Evaluation Services and is responsible for larger impact evaluations, including those for the Campaign to End Loneliness and the Alzheimer’s Society. She has a particular interest in participatory approaches to evaluation, and her background in frontline social and community work gives her particular expertise in organisations that work with vulnerable people.

    Sally has trained and supported hundreds of organisations to develop their theories of change and self-evaluation processes, and written a number of well-read self-evaluation guides. She has carried out external evaluations for a very wide range of voluntary sector organisations and their funders. Sally has been with Charities Evaluation Services for 17 years.

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    Shehnaaz Latif, Lead Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    shehnaaz latifShehnaaz has strategic overview of training and currently leads on capacity building self-evaluation work for the Alzheimer’s Society. She oversees training contracts for Comic Relief (UK) and Macmillan Cancer Care. Shehnaaz has provided training and support to hundreds of organisations to develop their theories of change, outcomes monitoring frameworks, and self-evaluation processes. Shehnaaz carries out external evaluations, and self-evaluation capacity building, for voluntary sector organisations and their funders. She has particular interest and expertise in working with funders and volunteer-led organisations. She is an advocate of creative, flexible and pragmatic approaches to evaluation. Shehnaaz has been with Charities Evaluation Services for 12 years.

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    Georgina Anstey, Senior Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    georgie ansteyGeorgie supports organisations to increase their capacity in impact and outcomes planning, evaluation, and reporting. She also conducts external evaluations. Georgie sits on the Inspiring Impact programme board and managed the collaborative development of the Code of Good Impact Practice for the sector. Before this, she worked on a programme to develop innovative tools to demonstrate the impact of voluntary sector support organisations. Georgie has been at NCVO for eight years and joined Charities Evaluation Services following the merger of the two organisations in 2014.

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    Harriet Pearce Willis, Senior Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    harriet pearce willisHarriet’s clients include BBC Children in Need and the Alzheimer’s Society. She has particular expertise in health, social care, children and young people’s services, and disability-related issues. Harriet completed a two year programme evaluation for the Safe Network, the national safeguarding unit for the voluntary sector, managed by the NSPCC and Children England. Harriet joined Charities Evaluation Services in 2013.

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    Amira Chilvers, Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    amira chilversAmira delivers training and works on projects supporting organisations to build their evaluation capacity. She also carries out external evaluations. Since joining NCVO Charities Evaluation Services in 2016 her clients have included the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Religious Education Council of England and Wales. Prior to joining NCVO, Amira worked for the Church of England Education Office where she developed the theory of change and business plan for the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership. Amira has extensive experience in education, having been a secondary school teacher for three years and worked in a range of educational charities, and brings this expertise to her evaluation work.

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    Sarah Menzies, Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    sarah menziesSarah runs training, external evaluation and capacity building for Charities Evaluation Services. She specialises in supporting voluntary organisations to build their capacity in evaluation and research.

    Prior to working with Charities Evaluation Services, she worked for a refugee and migrant charity, and ran an accredited research programme in which 65 organisations graduated. She also acted as a consultant supporting groups to set up evaluation frameworks to a further 100 groups. Prior to this, she held a research and community development role at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, supporting a network of voluntary organisations across Scotland through a community development approach with their research and evaluation requirements.

    She is a mixed methods researcher but has expertise on action research, empowering/inclusive research and working with marginalised communities. She has extensive experience of grant and lottery fundraising and supporting voluntary organisations to meet funders’ reporting requirements.

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    Faruk Barabhuiya, Assistant Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    faruk barabhuiyaFaruk works on external evaluations and handles consultancy administration. He has a particular interest in creative and participatory research methods. In addition to supporting organisations to conduct effective monitoring and self-evaluation, he has grant management and information management experience. Faruk has worked extensively in the charity sector, mainly in grant-giving organisations, including Youth Music and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

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    Maria Jadersten, Administration and Training Assistant, Charities Evaluation Services

    maria jaderstenMaria provides a range of financial, administrative and training management support to the team. She also provides a range of support for all the open training and in-house training contracts, such as BBC Children in Need and MacMillan Cancer Support, and leads on the Trust for London training and support contract. She formerly worked for British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and CoramBAAF for eleven years. Maria joined NCVO Charities Evaluation Services in 2016.

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    Alongside our staff team, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services works with a small group of trusted associates. These skilled evaluation professionals help us expand our capacity and meet the need for our services. We have worked with most of them for many years, and a number are former staff.

    Jean Ellis, Associate Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    Jean has played a key role in developing PQASSO, NCVO’s leading UK quality mark for the third sector, as well as other bespoke quality systems. She has led numerous programmatic evaluations in the UK and internationally, most recently an impact evaluation for the Church Urban Fund. Jean is the author of several seminal publications on evaluation and performance improvement. She has worked with Charities Evaluation Services for twenty years as a senior consultant.

    Milla Gregor, Associate Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    Over ten years Milla has worked for funders and charities that include Camden Council, Z2K, the National Housing Foundation and The Baring Foundation. She has a particular interest in the smart use of research, statistics and database systems. Milla specialises in outcomes evaluation and theory of change development. She supports people through the human side of organisational changes. Milla has experience as a mediator and trainer in relationship skills and a diploma in group facilitation, counselling skills and conflict resolution. She has studied research through many lenses including anthropology (Cambridge), health policy (LSE/LSHTM) and research methods (Open University).

    Diana Parkinson, Associate Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    Diana has particular expertise in working with organisations in the criminal justice, homelessness and women’s sectors. Her clients include One25, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Volunteering Matters. She has an MSc in professional practice in research methods and is chair of the board of trustees for the charity, Birth Companions. Diana has been an associate consultant with Charities Evaluation Services since 2002.

    Avan Wadia, Associate Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

    Avan’s recent work includes supporting the Motor Neurone Disease Association to implement an outcomes framework. She also carried out an evaluation for Swindon Therapy Centre. Avan has provided support to grantees of Children in Need and Lloyds TSB Foundation. She is an experienced evaluator and trainer and has been an associate consultant with Charities Evaluation Service since 2005.

  • NCVO Charities Evaluation Services helps voluntary organisations and their funders with practical impact measurement and evaluation. We provide consultancy, training and information to put you in a much better position to improve your work, raise your profile and achieve more for your cause. Our expertise comes from over 25 years of working with the voluntary sector.


    Our popular, interactive outcome and impact training courses are led by experts. You’ll complete practical evaluation planning work that you can apply immediately.

    Find out more about our training.

    Theory of change and impact planning

    We support organisations to identify the difference they want to make, using a theory of change or other suitable approaches. This type of impact planning can help you focus your organisation’s strategy, plan how to use your resources efficiently, and communicate the value of what you do – as well as forming the basis for your evaluation.

    Find out more about our consultancy.

    Support to measure your impact

    Our consultancy can help you build an outcome and impact measurement approach and skills that will last. We can help you collect information, use it to improve your work, and communicate the difference you’re making to help secure funding. Our aim is that you can do your own evaluation once our support has finished.

    Find out more about our consultancy.

    Independent evaluations

    We can provide an objective assessment of your work for organisational learning, programme development, or to enable you to report to your funders. We have independently evaluated over three hundred voluntary sector programmes, services and campaigns.

    Find out more about our independent evaluations.

    Funders, commissioners and investors

    We support funders to plan and review their impact so they can develop funding programmes and make more effective and targeted funding decisions. We can also provide impact training programmes or consultancy for your funded organisations, so you receive better data on the difference your money makes.

    Find out more about our support for funders.

    Free information

    NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit is home to our free information to help you plan evaluation, develop a theory of change, collect outcomes and impact data, and more.

    Resources to help you improve the way you measure impact are also available from Inspiring Impact – a UK-wide, ten-year collaboration (between NCVO Charities Evaluation Services and others), which aims to improve impact measurement in the non-profit sector.

    Practical Monitoring and Evaluation, our popular and comprehensive guide to monitoring and evaluation in the voluntary sector, is available to buy.

    Who we've worked with

    See what impact and evaluation projects we've worked on, and what our clients say.

    Contact us

    Find out how we can help. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call us on 020 7520 3193, or fill in our enquiry form to tell us about the support you need.

    Find out how we can help. Email us[HPW1] , call us on 020 7520 3193 or fill in our enquiry form[HPW2] to tell us about the support you need.

     [HPW1]Link to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     [HPW2]We currently link to , but are considering whether we should just link to the NCVO consultancy enquiry form instead. For the minute could we leave the link as it is?

  • Training from NCVO Charities Evaluation Services gives you practical skills to measure outcomes and impact in a way that works for you, and your funders.

    Our step-by-step programme helps you progress through planning, measurement and reporting. You'll come away with the skills you need to develop a fit for purpose monitoring and evaluation system.

    You can book a place at one of our courses in London or we can come to you – for a single course or as part of a larger training programme for your staff, volunteers or grantees. 


    Select a course title to read more and book or browse our full listing of outcomes and impact training courses.

    Plan your impact and evaluation

    Planning is the first stage of any successful evaluation. We have four courses to help:

    Measure your impact

    We can help you decide how to collect data that will be most useful for you, and build your skills so you can collect it effectively. We have two courses to help:

    Develop, communicate and use your evaluation

    Once you have your data, it's crucial that you know how to make sense of it, share your findings and use the information to improve what you do. Our final course will help:

    We can come to you

    All our courses can be delivered at your venue, providing an affordable way to train groups of staff, trustees or volunteers. We can also develop and deliver bespoke training tailored for your organisation.

    Contact us for more information

    Training programmes

    We run training programmes for charities and funders including BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Trust for London. Working with us will build self-evaluation skills among your staff or grantees, helping you generate better data about what you're achieving.

    Contact us for more information

    What people say about our training

    We've trained tens of thousands of individuals from voluntary organisations – from national charities to local groups. Recent attendees said:

    'Honestly the best training course I've ever been on in terms of both usefulness and enjoyability. Could not recommend it more!'

    'Excellent, supportive trainer. I felt valued and listened to.'

    'I really feel like I can make changes when I can get back to the office.'

    'Very enjoyable and relevant to my service. I really feel this will benefit me in seeking future funding and improving care.'

    Find out about our trainers

  • Political insight

  • Through our consultancy, we’ll support you to build sustainable outcome and impact measurement practices so you can evaluate for yourselves in the future. Our approach is robust and grounded in research and evaluation theory, but we are also pragmatic and flexible. We understand the reality of working in a busy voluntary sector role, and we will support you in a way that works for you.

    We can help you to:

    • build a theory of change to inform your strategy, organisational plans and approach to monitoring and evaluation
    • develop an evaluation framework, identifying the specific information you’ll collect to build evidence for your outcomes
    • choose a way to gather data, and find or develop appropriate collection tools
    • analyse the information you collect, and communicate what you’ve found to your funders, stakeholders and beneficiaries
    • use your findings to make your work more effective.

    We offer long-term support programmes and smaller amounts of consultancy. We can provide workshops and/or mentoring, which can be face-to-face or remote.

    Fill in our enquiry form to tell us about the consultancy you need.

    Who we’ve worked with

  • Thomas Pocklington Trust to support outcome and impact measurement.
  • The Bank Workers Charity to improve their data collection.
  • The Nehemiah Foundation to improve their planning and evaluation, and develop a theory of change.
  • NCVO Charities Evaluation Services is a leading evaluation consultancy for the voluntary sector. Over the last 25 years we have worked with tens of thousands of voluntary organisations and their funders and commissioners, these include:

    Impact planning and theory of change

    Supporting outcome and impact measurement

    Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) works with people with sight loss in the UK. They work in alliance with Visionary, the membership organisation for local sight loss charities.

    TPT noticed that many sight loss services were seeking to improve their self-evaluation. In 2015, they commissioned NCVO CES to support the development of outcome and impact measurement in sight loss services around the country.

    Over a year, we worked with TPT and Visionary to deliver courses, along with in-depth support for ‘Outcome Champions’. Training was well received and respondents reported increased confidence in outcomes evaluation. Alexa Sage, development and innovation manager at Visionary, said:

    It’s been fantastic to see such a high level of engagement from across the sector, bringing local authority workers together with the voluntary sector and being able to think about sharing learning and results. Involving everyone from CEOs and managers to frontline staff from large national or regional organisations and small local charities has helped us to develop resources and methods that cater to different capacities. In particular we’ve noticed smaller organisations with fewer resources to dedicate to outcome measurement beginning to embed good practice forms of outcome measurement as part of their everyday work.

    Improving data collection

    The Bank Workers’ Charity (BWC) supports current and former bank employees and their families. NCVO CES worked with BWC from 2014 – 2016, improving their internal data collection. We worked with staff to develop a theory of change and evaluation framework, and helped BWC improve data collection systems. Sarah Crombie, BWC’s director of client services, described how she found working with us:

    [Our consultant] was excellent throughout the whole process and took time to listen and understand our requirements. We are a complex organisation with a wide remit, so the solution had to take into consideration numerous issues. [Our consultant] delivered this extremely well.... Excellent experience.

    Part of our work involved developing two surveys for BWC clients. As a result, Sarah said BWC now has:

    Much better, more systematic data gathering which has resulted in much richer quantitative and qualitative information from our clients, which helps us develop and improve our services.

    Building a theory of change

    The Nehemiah Foundation supports practical, community-based regeneration at a neighbourhood level.

    In 2016, we worked with the Foundation to improve their planning and evaluation. First, we interviewed stakeholders, ran a workshop with them and developed a theory of change. Then, we drafted a related evaluation framework, in consultation with staff.

    The Foundation’s CEO particularly valued our experience and related this to the very positive outcomes of our work with them in terms of planning and fundraising:

    Our consultant was excellent and clearly very experienced – able to sort out the wood from trees, take us seriously and make us feel good about the work we do – professional and taken seriously… The clarity and support has revolutionised the way we think, crystallised our thinking and put us in a place where we can focus our energies more effectively and make our investment case more persuasively.


    Some of this work was completed by Charities Evaluation Services, before we became part of NCVO.

    Independent evaluations

    Long term impact evaluation

    The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of people and organisations working together to tackle loneliness in older age.

    We have been working with the Campaign since its launch in 2011, working on a series of independent impact evaluations.

    Working closely with staff, and using surveys, interviews and focus groups, we have collected data from a wide range of Campaign supporters, policy makers, national influencers and staff. Laura Alcock-Ferguson, the director of the campaign, described our work with them:

    NCVO Charities Evaluation Services have been like part of our team from the beginning, working flexibly to support our work and help us improve it. They have supplemented our work brilliantly, while also maintaining the objective view necessary for external evaluators. The high-quality data they collect, which they analyse and present back to us regularly, has really shaped how we work, helping us make the Campaign highly successful. I’ve used their findings so often, especially in funding bids and also in campaigning materials – our supporters like to know the impact they and we are having. Their support has been invaluable to us.

    Read the report

    Evaluation of a nationwide pilot programme

    Side by Side is run by the Alzheimer's Society, and helps people with dementia to get out and about with support from volunteers.

    The Society commissioned us to evaluate the pilot of Side by Side between 2014 and 2017. They wanted a fully independent view, but also needed evaluators who would work closely with them, sharing findings to help develop the programme.

    Our evaluation is informed by contribution analysis, a form of qualitative impact assessment. To test the programme’s theory of change, we have run surveys and interviews with multiple stakeholders, including people with dementia.  We have produced several reports, and have shared our findings through webinars and podcasts.

    Our interim evaluation found evidence of significant outcomes for people with dementia. We have also recommended areas for improvement, which the Society is working on.

    Lisa Beck, Side by Side’s programme lead, explained how our work has helped:

    Side by Side is a really important new service for us. It was vital that we commissioned expert evaluators to help us ensure that our work best meets the needs of people with dementia. Through their independent evaluation, NCVO CES have helped us learn about what works and what can be improved. Their staff are approachable and helpful, and yet always professional. Side by Side has really been improved by having NCVO CES involved.


    Some of this work was completed by Charities Evaluation Services, before we became part of NCVO.

    Funders, commissioners and investors

    Improving grantees’ impact assessment

    The Lloyds Bank Foundation invests in charities supporting people to break out of multiple disadvantage. Realising that outcomes and impact assessment was a key area of need for many of their grantees, they commissioned NCVO CES to provide bespoke support to their grantees with measuring impact.

    We have worked with the Foundation since early 2015, supporting grantees to improve their impact assessment. We offer four to six days support, often focused on developing a theory of change and planning ways to measure impact.

    Michele Lester, a grants manager at the Foundation, explained the benefits of working with us:

    Their support is pragmatic and yet robust, and tailored to the unique needs of the small and medium sized charities we fund. Grantees have reported an increase in their understanding of impact and the outcomes they choose to measure, they are also clearer about what they are trying to achieve which is very useful across all of their work.

    In 2016 we supported Stitches in Time, a community arts organisation and Foundation grantee, to improve their monitoring systems. Katie Adkins, director of enterprise and outreach, commented:

    Thank you so much for your help. The new monitoring tools developed with NCVO CES have been incredibly useful in enabling us to evidence the support we are providing to our clients and clearly monitor the outcomes we are achieving.  Such valuable assistance in developing well considered evaluation tools has subsequently enabled us to secure our biggest grant yet - funding from the Big Lottery.

    Building evaluation skills of grantees through training

    NCVO Charities Evaluation Services (initially as CES) has supported BBC Children in Need (CiN) to develop the self-evaluation skills of its funded organisations for almost 20 years. We run a training programme for all organisations receiving a main grant from CiN; there have been over 7,000 attendees at the one-day training courses,* which we co-facilitate with CiN staff. Now called ‘Your Difference’, the training supports grantees to articulate their outcomes and to link them to CiN’s Difference Framework (its theory of change). It also enables grantees to set out how they will measure change occurring through their work.

    The training is very well received; course evaluation forms show that 98 per cent of 2015 training attendees felt more confident to put measurement and evaluation in place within their organisation having attended. A recent CES review showed that grantees go on to make changes to their outcomes monitoring following the course, and some have found that defining outcomes has helped with project planning. Following their project evaluation for CiN, the review found that some grantees had made changes to their service delivery.

    CiN has also benefitted from the programme. It receives better information on what its funded organisations achieve and the difference its funding has made, as well as learning points which it uses to inform future funding decisions.

    *This includes some individuals who have attended more than once.

    Engaging funded professionals in evaluation

    Macmillan Cancer Support provides services and support to people affected by cancer, and campaigns to improve cancer care. Macmillan wanted to enable the health and social care professionals it supports to demonstrate the difference their work makes – so that Macmillan could better understand its impact, and professionals could clearly highlight the outcomes they were achieving.

    We worked with Macmillan to develop training for professionals and have been delivering two one-day courses in impact measurement since 2013.

    Tony Banach from Macmillan explained how working with us helps them evidence their impact:

    Macmillan recognises that effective evaluation is essential to support the development and improvement of cancer services for patients and their families. We have a successful partnership with NCVO Charities Evaluation Services, who provide excellent learning and development across the UK to enable Macmillan professionals to evaluate their services and evidence the impact they are having. The programme aims to support those new to evaluation, as well as those with more experience, who wish to carry out more in-depth work in this area.


    Some of this work was completed by Charities Evaluation Services, before we became part of NCVO.

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