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Welcome to IVAR. We are an independent charity that works closely with people and organisations striving for social change. From the very small that directly support the most vulnerable in their local communities, to those that work nationally – across the voluntary, public and funding sectors.


We use research to develop practical responses to the challenges faced and create opportunities for people to learn from our findings. This site is home to our bank of research and resources, providing insights that can help organisations adapt to change and make informed and confident decisions.


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Recently published

Front cover image briefing number three what we have learned from sharing the research

Briefing papers:

Briefing Three: What we learned from sharing the research

Leila Baker, Niamh Goggin

Here we summarise what we learned from sharing the research and sets out three areas for further action: the narrative and language around social investment; workforce development and connecting grant funding with social investment

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Research reports:

People, places and health agencies: Lessons from Big Local residents

Leila Baker, Helen Garforth, Marilyn Taylor and Katie Turner, Katie Turner

What challenges are you facing? We may be able to help.

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front cover image volunteering and early childhood outcomes

Research reports:

Volunteering and early childhood outcomes

Jenny McLeish, Leila Baker, Helen Connolly, Houda Davis, Charlotte Pace, Celia Suppiah

Front cover image of Funder Collaboration

Research reports:

Funder Collaboration: Is it worth it?

Leila Baker, Ben Cairns

Latest blogs

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02 February 2017

Learning in responsive grant making – Thinking out loud

Houda Davis

In recent months we have been looking into theory and ideas that might help us figure out just what good learning looks like.

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01 January 2017

Taking a strategic learning approach to evaluation

Nick Wilsdon, Learning & Evaluation Manager at the National Foundation for Youth Music shares his experience of embedding a strategic learning approach to evaluation. He highlights the journey of change, concluding with helpful tips for anyone embarking on a similar journey.

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Photo of Leila Baker

02 December 2016

On the shoulders of giants: Charity leaders call for a ‘humble and modest’ social investment market

Leila Baker

Leila Baker, Head of research at IVAR shares some of the points made by speakers and guests during the lively Q&A session at our recent launch event for Small charities and social investment.

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Photo of Marilyn Taylor

06 November 2016

Getting on the impact bandwagon

Marilyn Taylor

IVAR associate, Professor Marilyn Taylor shares her thinking on Impact.

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19 October 2016

Community organisations push back on ‘data burden’

Mary Darking

Through academic collaboration and partnership working, organisations push back on the burden of monitoring, evaluation and impact.

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