Why evaluate? Evidencing the change you are making in the world

12 JAN 2020
No alt text available
Jessamin Birdsall
Head of Research and Evaluation Church Urban Fund

"Scripture encourages us to be wise stewards of our resources, to pursue excellence in all that we do, to grow in knowledge and understanding, and to give an honest and accurate account of what we have done. The processes of monitoring and evaluation help us to do all of those things faithfully."

In this blog, Jessamin Birdsall, who heads up Research and Evaluation at Church Urban Fund and is a PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Policy at Princeton University, shares her thoughts on why churches and Christian organisation should take an impact first approach, and points to top tips and tools to help with monitoring and evaluation. 

If you’re like most people, the words ‘monitoring and evaluation’ don’t inspire you to leap out of bed in the morning. 
 
The phrase conjures up images of impersonal forms and endless tick boxes. It sounds a bit invasive, or just downright dull. 
 
Since you’ve made your way to this website, I’m assuming you’re motivated by a desire to make a difference in the world. Maybe you run a community project through your church or local organisation, and you want to see lives changed?
 
But how do you know if you are actually making the changes you want to happen? That’s where monitoring and evaluation comes in. 
 
Monitoring and evaluation is not simply a secular fad you need to join in order to please funders. I believe there are compelling biblical reasons to evaluate the work that we do through churches and Christian charities. 
 
Scripture encourages us to be wise stewards of our resources, to pursue excellence in all that we do, to grow in knowledge and understanding, and to give an honest and accurate account of what we have done. The processes of monitoring and evaluation help us to do all of those things faithfully.
 
That’s why Church Urban Fund and Allchurches Trust have come together to develop a set of simple tools to help you, as churches and Christian organisations, think about what kind of impact you want to have, how you can meaningfully assess your impact, and how to make good use of the information that you gather to learn and grow. 
 
I encourage you to use these tools and guidance collaboratively in your team planning and when implementing a project. We believe that building impact evaluation into your work can sharpen vision, motivate your team, generate stories of transformation, and ultimately improve the work you do to benefit others. 
 
You can download the planning tool, reporting tool, and guidance notes here. 
 
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the tools, do feel free to get in touch by e-mailing Jessamin.Birdsall@cuf.org.uk
Share this story