Evaluation Exchange: Reflecting and Adapting to Constant Change in Social Enterprises

This blog is part of the ISIKLE project’s Evaluation Exchange – a partnership between UCL and voluntary and community sector organisations in Camden and east London that aims to improve evaluation practice.

Charlotte Im, Katharina Haag, Hang Lai, Emma Jones, and Lester Lyall discuss the need to reflect and adapt to persistent change in Social Enterprises.

Money A+E is a relatively young organization, moving fast into their next phase of growth. It is thus important to review their monitoring and evaluation process, to keep them up to date with the growth and avoid difficulties in the future. The organisation provides money advice and education to diverse ethnic communities through various workshops, programs, and other services.

As Money A+E grows and continues to serve their community, new challenges also arise, prompting reflection on the organisation. Together, we are going to review and update the organisation’s current monitoring and evaluation processes. Is it adequate to meet the needs of Money A+E at this point in time? What does Money A+E really need to meet funder requirements in order to best deliver their projects? What do they really need and want for their own organisational learning?

Another challenge that Money A+E has noticed is a need for a new data collection system for their educational data. With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming ways of communication and working, it has also impacted how the organisation can collect data. Having migrated from pen and paper to Google Docs during the pandemic, there is a need for a stronger tool which can collect multiple samples of data and collate them into useful reports.

Our team brings together a diverse mix of research experiences and engagement with NGOs. Katharina is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Global Health, with a PhD in Psychology. Hang’s interests centre on real estate and housing finance, and he is a current PhD candidate. Also undertaking PhD research is Charlotte, whose research surrounds information trustworthiness within social movements. Finally, Emma is a Lecturer in Gender and Education with experience working with NGOs, and is joined by her intern Lester, who is studying International Development with NGO Management at the University of East London. We have been working closely with Greg and Fred from Money A+E, who have given us a lot of helpful background information so we could better understand the organisation’s work and current evaluation procedures.

At the moment, we are in the process of reviewing different sub-facets of Money A+E’s current evaluating procedures in different areas: Theory of Change / Monitoring & Evaluation Framework, Quantitative Data, and Qualitative Data (including participatory research). We are assessing positive aspects, room for change and what may be missing, and from that build a foundation of which to decide our next steps. Through our continued communication, we hope to place the organisation and the communities they serve in the centre of our exchange. We all look forward to continue learning from one another, as well as from Money A+E, and are very excited for what we can do together.