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Our support to third sector organisations

“Since the support we have gone through all of our paperwork… referral forms, questionnaires everything and I think we must have reduced it all by a third….so we have definitely become a lot more efficient and our evaluation is a lot less burdensome now.”  Isabel Montgomery, Deveron Care Concern  

Are there any user friendly evaluation tools that I can use? How do I evaluate a soft outcome I can't count? How do I report to funders? How do I make time for evaluation? If any of this sounds familiar here are some of the ways we can help.  

Browse our “Evaluation Pathway” to find FREE resources, tools and simple support guides.  That might be all you need to get going.

We have evaluation workshops to help third sector organisations get to grips with evaluation and share practical ideas with each other. 

We can provide a small amount of free support by phone or e-mail, for example, to get you started on evaluation or to give short feedback on an evaluation plan or report. 


Tailored support (virtual)

We are currently providing tailored support via Zoom or by telephone.

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 this 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. 

We normally have to charge you for tailored support to cover our costs. A longer session costs £564 (including VAT) and a shorter session costs £282 (including VAT). Longer session is a full day including ESS prep time, delivery of session and follow up and shorter sesion is half a day (including the same). However your funder may have arranged for ESS to support you at no cost to your organisation. This would be through an Evaluation Support Account (ESA). Do speak with your fund manager to see if you are eligible for free support.


Support is tailored to the needs of your organisation and might include (although not all at once!):

  • Write outcomes 
  • Develop theory of change (logic modelling)
  • Define indicators
  • Develop appropriate information collection methods
  • Analyse data you have gathered
  • Write reports
  • Devise an evaluation plan
  • Embed evaluation into your organisation
  • Think about what you want from an "external evaluation"
  • Since March 2020 you may need support to evaluate services that have moved online or you may have changed how you deliver your services in another way. For resources to help evaluate at a distance see our COVID-19 webpage here

A tailored support session helped Youth Borders and its leads members to

“Kick start the process we need and to have logic models in place to help future joint funding bids.  We have since built on the session and are in the process of completing  between the managers two joint logic models around the partnership and young people.  The session has helped clarify our thinking and been an integral part of our forthcoming plans to apply for funding for the next 3 years and we will be working with ESS again to expand the process and learning with the wider YouthBorders’ membership.” (2017) Clare De Bolle, Chief Officer, YouthBorders

Extended tailored support (longer term tailored support)

Some organisations are finding they have good evaluation in place for individual projects but not for the organisation as a whole.  This can make it hard to be consistent, share learning or demonstrate impact as a whole.  We can help!  It usually involves multiple sessions of tailored support with groups of staff from across the organisation to create flexible organisation-wide systems and build staff skills. 

See Shared Care Scotland case study here to see how they used extended tailored support to plan for evaluation. 

As examples the following are three different types of extended tailored support we have delivered recently: 

Organisation 1 – Developed a logic model, outcomes, indicators and methods to collect evidence


Organisation 1 commissioned all three Let’s Evaluate! workshops for two teams and 6 full days of tailored support: two days for each team to develop outcomes and a logic model followed by two days with everyone together to focus on setting indicators and developing appropriate methods to collect evidence for their outcomes.

Organisation 2 - Created an evaluation champions’ group to implement an evaluation framework throughout the organisation


Organisation 2 formed an evaluation champions’ group of staff and we worked with this group to develop an outcomes and indicators framework. The organisation piloted the framework before implementing it across the whole organisation. We facilitated meetings of the champions’ group throughout this process and started new work with a group of frontline staff to develop in-house training on the outcomes framework to embed the outcome-focused approach.

“Staff said using the framework had improved their care and support… The framework and paperwork is effective if service users transition from one service to another – more seamless.  It fits with risk assessment, really works.  Care Inspectors have given positive feedback.  Managers feel more confident in tendering.” 

Organisation 3 – Developed organisation-wide outcomes, indicators and evidence collection method


We ran 5 sessions with frontline staff to develop organisation-wide outcomes, indicators and methods. The following year the organisation asked us to provided 2 further tailored support sessions to support them while they piloted and tweaked their new evidence collection method. We also carried out an analysis of pilot data against their new outcomes on their behalf.

“Without the expert knowledge of ESS we would most likely deviate from the good work done so far and stray from the main objective.”

Please contact us by email or phone 0131 243 2770 to discuss your evaluation needs.

Download extended support flier here.

And also

  • Sometimes a funder will pay us to provide support to their funded organisations. This is called an evaluation support account – perhaps your funder has set up one with us?
  • Our case studies (see resources below) give you an idea about the work we do with third sector organisations (and funders).
  • ESS can’t do an evaluation for you! But we can help you commission an external evaluation


Related Resources

Case study

Setting Outcomes Case Study - We're all on the same page now! (Music 4 U)

Music 4 U talks about the range of evaluation support that helped them get to grips with evaluation.

Case study

Evaluation planning - The value of extended tailored support (Shared Care Scotland)

Shared Care Scotland talks about how extended tailored support helped them improve their evaluation planning.

Case study

Setting Outcomes Case Study - Taking a team approach to develop a theory of change (The Ecology Centre)

The Ecology Centre talks about how working as a team can help develop good evaluation practice.

Case study

Case Study: Young Scot

This case study shows how Young Scot developed measurable outcomes that worked for the whole organisation and a strategy to ...

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