Live projects

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 12.41.27 pm

The value of small: Evidencing the distinctive contribution of small and medium sized charities

In partnership with: Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research

Live project

This new study will take an in-depth look at the vital social and economic role of small and medium sized charities operating at a local level in England and Wales.

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 4.40.00 pm

Self-care - A new chapter for the Building Health Partnerships programme

Topline timings: April 2017 - June 2018

Live project

We are pleased to announce that we will be running a programme focused on self care in 8 Sustainability and Transformation areas across the UK. Funded by NHS England and Big Lottery Fund.


Thinking about sustainability with Re-Solv

Topline timings: June 2016 to June 2017

Live project

IVAR will be working with Re-Solv to look at how they can ‘adapt to changing market conditions and opportunities’. Reviewing the evidence on the organisation’s impact to date and looking at what measures need to be put in place to sustain or expand this work in the future.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.57.09 pm

Empowered communities 2020s

Topline timings: This project will run through from March 2017 - March 2018

Live project

IVAR has been appointed by Local Trust to carry out research that will scope and support the future of community development. Over the coming months we will look at what it needs to look like and who needs to be involved in order to empower communities in the 2020s.

ERT Circles

The Evaluation Roundtable

Topline timings: The current cycle runs April 2016 - December 2017

Live project

The Evaluation Roundtable is a network of foundation leaders in the UK, the U.S. and Canada. The Roundtable aims to improve evaluative practice in foundations by infusing it with cutting-edge ideas, and by providing foundation staff with an opportunity to refine and deepen their thinking and practice.


Tudor Trust Support Programme

Live project

Commissioned by:

Tudor Trust

We provide bespoke organisational reviews to support grantees of the Tudor Trust. These reviews take place across England and involve working with trustees and staff of smaller community-based social welfare organisations.

Logo Atlantic Philanthropies

IVAR becomes long-term evaluator and learning partner for global leadership programme

Live project

Commissioned by:

The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Atlantic Institute is the hub for the Atlantic Fellows programmes, a global initiative to empower and connect dynamic individuals committed to working together across disciplines and borders to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies. The programme supports growing communities of emerging leaders tackling critical 21st Century challenges related to race, health and economic equity. It was launched in 2016 and is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation.

Image of a road with a pound sign

We are working on research on small and medium sized charities’ experiences with social investment. By concentrating on the voice of small and medium-sized charities and communicating what we learn to other charities, investors and intermediaries, we aim to provide a bridge between those different stakeholders in the field of social finance.

Logo for Building Change Trust

Evaluation of impact of collaborative working on beneficiaries

Topline timings: October 2016 - March 2017

Live project

Commissioned by:

Building Change Trust

We have been commissioned by Building Change Trust to extend our evaluation of CollaborationNI. This phase involves a study of the impact of collaborative working on beneficiaries where the purpose of collaboration has been to improve or extend services.


Association of Charitable Foundations Strategic Review 2016

Live project

Commissioned by:

Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)

We have recently completed a strategic review for ACF, comprising interviews with trustees, members and partners, as well as a comprehensive survey of members. The findings of the review will form the basis of ACF’s new strategy which will be published in early 2017.

IVAR004—Place Based Funding Web backgrounds-03

We are working with London Funders and five other foundations to undertake research exploring ‘place-based funding’ through case studies of places where independent and public funders are working together. This is the second phase of our place-based research; phase 1 included fieldwork with 21 funders and the development of a framework for place-based funding.

Commonweal_Housing_logo_blue LARGE

Learning partnership with Commonweal Housing

Topline timings: Ongoing, started in 2015

Live project

Our partnership supports Commonweal Housing to reflect on progress, challenges, learning and adaptation; and integrate learning from project evaluations into its strategy and operations. In particular, we have been asked to focus on ‘replication’ and the organisation’s aspiration to be an ‘action learning’ organisation.

iWill logo

Evaluation of the National Youth Social Action Fund

Topline timings: July 2016-March 2018

Live project

Commissioned by:

Pears Foundation, the Cabinet Office and Step Up To Serve

Working with Pears Foundation, the Cabinet Office and Step Up To Serve, we will evaluate the National Youth Social Action Fund. The fund focuses particularly on growing social action opportunities among young people from lower socio-economic and rural populations. We will support the lead partners and funded projects to explore, understand and research: what social action looks like; how to change practice to engage young people from lower socio-economic and rural populations in social action; what behaviour change looks like in relation to youth social action.


The Child Sexual Exploitation Funders Alliance (CSEFA) has been created with the intention of aligning funding from trusts and foundations to bring about a step change in the way that child sexual exploitation is dealt with across the UK. We have been commissioned to conduct a light touch evaluation that will focus on the alliance itself, the challenges and achievements of this form of funder collaboration and the underlying assumption that aligned funding is a suitable strategy for achieving systemic change in a complex field such as child sexual exploitation.


In recent years, we have seen growing tension between funders’ encouragement, sometimes requirement for sustainability, and the turbulent environment that voluntary organisations operate within. Specifically, we have seen funders use the concept of sustainability as a key element in deciding what and how to fund. Our Research Development Fund has been used to carry out an independent exploration of this.

Parents 1st logo

A Better Start evidence review

Live project

Commissioned by:

Parents 1st

In partnership with Parents 1st we put together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and practitioners to support the Big Lottery Fund’s A Better Start programme. Our evidence review looks at the ways that volunteering initiatives can benefit the development of babies and very young children right from the start pre-birth. From our findings we have developed a set of core principles for initiatives of this kind, key points for commissioners and other stakeholders and a separate implementation framework that we are now starting to use with practitioners hoping to set up new volunteering initiatives.

First Give_Master CMYK_72dpi

Evaluation of First Give

Topline timings: September 2016-September 2017

Live project

Commissioned by:

First Give

We are working with First Give to evaluate their schools programme which seeks to introduce students to ideas around citizenship and philanthropy. This will be their first independent evaluation and will support them in developing the future programme.

LocalTrust_BigLocal2_CMYK_GREEN crop

Big Local working with health agencies

Topline timings: January 2016 – April 2017

Live project

This is a participatory action research project in up to ten Big Local areas to understand and develop partnership working between residents and public health agencies. This builds on our previous work on resident led change as five year learning partner to Big Local and on our Building Health Partnerships and Health and Social Value Programmes.

IVAR004—Place Based Funding Web backgrounds-03

Working in place: Local case studies

In partnership with: London Funders, LankellyChase Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, Power to Change, John Lyon’s Charity and Robertson Trust

Topline timings: Ends Autumn 2017

Live project

In October 2016, we began a second phase of place-based funding research to build on the framework, using case studies to explore how different types of funding operate and interact in a given geographic area. Through this research we are exploring how independent funders can work effectively with local, regional and national public agencies in a time of change.

scf LOGO

Sussex Community Foundation

Topline timings: September 2016 – August 2017

Live project

Commissioned by:

Sussex Community Foundation

We are currently working on two exciting pieces of work with Sussex Community Foundation. Find out more.

Learn more about IVAR