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briefing paper

More data is not the answer

Learning and evaluation in trusts and foundations during Covid-19

October 2020

Ben Cairns, Houda Davis, Liz Firth


This briefing shares the experiences of the 20 staff participating in our Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice sessions during September 2020. These sessions saw a renewed focus on many familiar questions about effective learning – “how can we create an environment where we hear what went badly not just what went well?”; “how can we judge the totality of our contribution not just one programme or intervention?’” “how can we keep learning at the heart of how we do things day-to-day?” – and helpful debate on when, how and why these questions help learning and evaluation staff to bring value to the challenging decisions facing both funders and the VCSE organisations they support.

As well as sharing their experiences, we also offer our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.

Community of Practice sessions are open to all foundation staff leading on evaluation and learning. Our aim is to create a space where they can share challenges and dilemmas, and learn from each other’s experiences in their efforts to put learning at the heart of their foundations’ response going forward.


(ERT CoP Briefing #3_More data is not the answer_Oct2020 FINAL)

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