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Life in Covid-19 times is not easy for anyone. For many third sector organisations you’ll be finding ways to reach your service users and provide your services users in different ways - at a distance. At the same time you may be concerned about what this will mean for your funding and for reporting to your funder, as you are busy making radical changes to your service and keeping yourself safe.

You may also be thinking “Is this really a time to worry about measurement?” In fact, evaluation – simple evaluation – is crucial. As we all deliver services virtually, help more or new beneficiaries, or meet new needs arising from the pandemic, we all need to check we are doing the right things and reaching the people who need us. 

ESS Top tips for now 


  • Keep evaluation simple
  • Find successes to celebrate to keep us positive in tough times
  • Capture evidence now for reporting later
  • Record learning now that we can use in future
  • Find quick and easy ways to record:
  1. What you do
  2. Who with or for
  3. The difference you are making
  4. What you’re learning 


Useful resources to help you capture evidence: 

Methods and tools


Case study


Other resources

Please adapt any of our tools to meet your own needs (we'd just ask you to reference ESS - thank you). 

SCVO Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub has lots of general advice for third sector organisations.

What ESS is doing to support you: 


We have moved our face to face workshops and events online! See links below for more information:

  • Let's Evaluate! programme
  • Tailored evaluation support via Zoom In these challenging times it’s even more important for evaluation to be simple and useful.  Organisations we are working with tell us they need evaluation to ensure their new ways of delivering services are working for service users, to celebrate successes and to gather learning for the “new future”.  Funders are being flexible but will obviously still want an end of year report.  If any of that resonates please get in touch to arrange Zoom support.  Your funder may be able to pay or we will charge at our daily rate and part day rates are possible. 

Related Resources

Evaluation method

Capturing casual moments

This method is a simple means for writing down service users’ actual words.


Evaluating in a time of change - webinar NEW

Webinar: 'Evaluating in a time of change' took place on 12 May 2020

Evaluation guide

How to evaluate asset-based approaches in an asset-based way

How to evaluate asset-based approaches in an asset-based way - Principles from Evaluation Support Scotland. This paper sets out 10 ...

Evaluation method

Using social media to evaluate other activities NEW

Social media can be a good source for unsolicited feedback that can supplement other evidence.

Evaluation method

Taking stock in a time of change NEW

In a time of rapid change, we have to respond more quickly and learn as we go.

Case study

Evaluating a helpline Case Study - Measuring the impact of a remote service (Pain Concern)

Pain Concern on the steps they took in order to capture the difference their telephone helpline makes for people living ...

Evaluation method

Using contact forms to gather evidence during a call

ESS has developed this resource for those organisations who have recently adapted their service in light of COVID-19.

Evaluation method

Using case records

This method sheet shows you how to make use of the information you collect during everyday practice.

Evaluation method

Change Record Template

This tool has been designed to record changes you make to how you run your project as you go along.

Online resource

Why Evaluate? Learning from COVID-19 event series NEW

This infographic captures some of our learning from 'Why Evaluate?' which talks about evaluation in challenging times.

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