Gwyneth Jones, Communications Manager at DTA Wales, talks about how the Egin programme is helping community projects with evaluation and measuring impact.
Egin aims to help community groups to start projects that focus on tackling or adapting to climate change, or to live more sustainably. But how can you know if your efforts are really making a difference?
Most of us want to do our part to make the world a better place – but to make sure our project doesn’t become another tick-box, or something that feels good but doesn’t really make a difference, it’s important to measure the impact of our projects. That way, we know that they’re really bringing the benefits we hope they are.
MORE THAN JUST NUMBERS
Measuring impact is not just about numbers – it’s about learning and improving. When you measure impact, you can learn what’s working well and what needs to change. It’s like looking at a map to see if you’re going in the right direction. By understanding the impact of your project, you can make smarter decisions, improve what you’re doing, and find new ways to make an even bigger impact. It’s all about growing and getting better at what you do.
Measuring impact also helps you tell others about the difference you’re making. When you share the impact of your project, it gets people excited about what you’re doing. Proving that your project is making a real difference makes it easier to get more resources and support – which includes grants and funding. That means you can expand your project and reach more people, making an even bigger impact in your community – and beyond.
KNOWING WHAT TO MEASURE
So – how will you know that your project is actually making a difference? How will you know what to measure?
That’s where monitoring and evaluation comes in: our partners, Co-production Lab Wales, have been working with us at Egin to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit – called Proving and Improving – for the use of all groups supported through the programme – although it is available for anybody to download.
Why should we measure the impact of our project? Infographic that lists: 1) To make sure we’re really making a difference, 2) so we can replicate it in other places, 3) to get others excited about our project, 4) to gain more support (including funding), 5) to learn and improve as we go along
Mike Corcoran, from Co-Production Lab Wales, says:
’The purpose of the toolkit is to ensure that all groups, no matter what their knowledge, capacity or previous experience, are able to undertake considered, meaningful, high quality evaluation, following established good evaluation practices.
‘As its name suggests, this toolkit is about proving and improving. It’s about knowing how to demonstrate that what you’re doing is working, and more importantly how to identify the ways to make it work even better in the future.
‘The toolkit will bring together evaluation guidance and resources published by national and international leaders in the field and through a simple self-assessment, supported by a series of discussion activities, enable groups to identify the methodologies, and specific resources, best aligned with their personal needs and objectives.
‘Monitoring and evaluation activities don’t have to be complicated, and the methods set out in this toolkit start from things as simple as writing words on Post-It notes: but all evaluation should be purposeful, considered, and appropriate for the people involved – Proving and Improving helps anyone who uses it do make sure that’s the case, with a series of simple multiple choice questions connecting you with the monitoring and evaluation tools and approaches which are the best fit for your needs.
‘The toolkit also highlights the value of co-production: doing things with, not for, your communities. Evaluations are a natural opportunity to have rich and open conversation with all those you work with, letting them share their stories in their own words, making decisions about future changes together, building trust and relationships, and establishing a shared sense of ownership over your activities, as you work together towards your collective goals.
‘The toolkit’s development has been informed by a “co-design team” comprising members of the Egin team, the TNL Sustainable Steps team, and intended users of the toolkit, including communities taking part in People First RCT’s “Stepping Out Into Nature” project.’
SUPPORT FROM EGIN
Groups supported by Egin will be able to receive direct support from Co-Production Lab Wales to help them use the toolkit. As part of the Egin Online Community, you’ll also be given access to a group called Proving and Improving, where you can share what you’re learning with other groups along the way. Co-Production Lab Wales will also be hosting quarterly online meetings where you can meet with other groups, share stories, and draw on each other’s experience to help make your project the most impactful it can be.
Even if you’re not part of Egin, you’re welcome to download the Monitoring and Evaluation pack and make your way through it!
This blog was originally posted on egin.org.uk, visit the Egin website to find out more about the project and view extra resources about monitoring and evaluation from Mike Corcoran at Co-Production Lab Wales.
Gwyneth has also written another piece for WCVA all about Egin project – Supporting communities in Wales to tackle climate change.