Category Archives: Impact & evaluation

The charity sector should use more systematic reviews to leverage what’s already known

Any single piece of evaluation research, designed to understand the effect of an intervention, has limitations. It will examine the effect of a particular intervention on some particular outcomes in a particular group of people (‘population’), at a particular time. That’s … Continue reading

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Effective campaigning, dark matter and Stephen Lloyd

The church in Berkeley in Gloucestershire has a plaque that commemorates “the many virtues and great usefulness of Miss Sarah Merrett Pike of this town”. How delightful: I’m sure we’d all like to end our days reputed for our “great … Continue reading

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Measuring long-term outcomes: new plan!

Like those of many social programmes, the goals of taking young people on Sail Training voyages are long-term: In this case, to improve life chances, involvement in employment and training, and sound mental health. However, many organisations which provide Sail … Continue reading

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How come this foundation’s grantees love its reporting process so much?

Most charities hate the reporting which funders make them do. Notionally a learning process, it’s often just compliance, box-ticking and a dead-weight cost. But not so apparently for the Inter-American Foundation, an independent US government agency which grant-funds citizen-led community … Continue reading

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Deworming: problems under re-analysis

A flawed study on deworming children—and new studies that expose its errors—reveal why activists and philanthropists alike need safeguards. The book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, of all things, offers a critically important message for people who work … Continue reading

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Is grantee / beneficiary feedback a substitute for RCTs?

The short answer is no. At first sight, it seems that randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and Constituent Voice (CV: a good way of gathering feedback from programme beneficiaries or grantees) could substitute for each other because they both seek to … Continue reading

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The key barriers to strategic philanthropy are practical

This was published by Stanford Social Innovation Review in a series about strategic philanthropy. Encouraging more strategic philanthropy is a behavior change exercise. Paul Brest and I are fellow travellers and co-conspirators in that mission. But his article implies that … Continue reading

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Behavioural insights are rocket-fuel for charities

Few people can claim that their work has been used routinely to inform or improve fundraising, reproductive health, the governance of African countries or road safety, or to help people to get jobs or quit smoking; but the US economist … Continue reading

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Charities should get good at research uptake

Every school child knows that vitamin C prevents scurvy. But how long was it from when James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, made that important discovery in 1747 until the British Navy started providing fruit juice to sailors? At that … Continue reading

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Systematic review of evidence to inform funding practice: outdoor learning

“What is known about what works and what doesn’t? What can we learn from the existing literature and experience of other organisations about what works and what doesn’t – and for whom and in what circumstances – which can help … Continue reading

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