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Terminology arrow""



covers a broad range of activities:

  • Performance management e.g. reporting and monitoring

  • Knowledge management

  • Organisational learning

  • Strategic learning

Here, the term is used to represent the suite of foundations’ evaluation related activities focusing on the use of, and demand for, evaluative information rather than solely on evaluation.


The Evaluation

The Evaluation Roundtable is a partnership between IVAR and the Center for Evaluation Innovation. It offers independent trusts and foundations an opportunity to gather and reflect on the design, development and use of different approaches to evaluation and learning.

Taking place every 18 months, each convening begins with a ‘teaching case’, allowing participants to explore a particular theme to understand implications for learning and practice development.  Participants have challenged one another to think more deeply and concretely about how grant makers can engage in learning and increase their ability, and that of grantees and partners, to achieve the results they seek.

The Evaluation Roundtable now includes a number of different elements to support individuals on their learning journeys. 

Who is the Roundtable for?



Leaders in evaluation, including CEOs, directors of evaluation, learning or impact, senior programme and grants officers with the authority to effect change in their organisations.

Support arrow""



A warm thank you to all those who fund our work and to CCLA who host Roundtable events.


Resources for Learning


We will publish teaching cases and other resources here to support learning across the sector.



Community of Practice


The Evaluation Roundtable Community of Practice provides a forum for individuals who lead on learning, evaluation or monitoring and impact to share and support each other with the particular challenges of holding responsibility for organisational learning.

Chairs and CEOs Workshops


These workshops bring together UK Trust and Foundation Chairs and Chief Executives to explore what it means to lead
a learning organisation and ‘make learning everyday’.


Report cover for funder briefing: finding a path through complexity.

Briefing papers:

Finding a path through complexity

Ben Cairns, Houda Davis, Liz Firth

This briefing draws on the contributions of learning and evaluation staff from 13 foundations, and offers our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise.


UK Evaluation Roundtable Teaching Cases 2020

Ben Cairns, Liz Firth

Corra Foundation and Pears Foundation share how their approach to learning has performed under pressure in response to Covid-19, and their initial thoughts on how this will influence the way they learn for the longer term.

Follow up report


Evaluation Roundtable: Follow up report from 2019 convening

Ben Cairns, Liz Firth

This paper summarises discussions and key points from the 2019 Evaluation Roundtable convening which focused on 'Making Learning Everyday'.

Cover - 2 cases


UK Evaluation Roundtable Teaching Cases 2019

Ben Cairns, Liz Firth

Produced for the January 2019 convening of the UK Evaluation Roundtable, here are two case studies – of Pears Foundation and Corra Foundation – on their approaches to ‘making learning everyday’, along with notes for how to use the teaching cases to support reflection and learning in other organisations.

Teaching case 2017


Esmée Fairbairn Foundation: learning in responsive grant-making

Liz Firth

Around 20 trustees, staff and grantees of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation were interviewed for a teaching case telling the story of how the Foundation developed its approach to, and use of, learning over the past 15 years.

Roundtable focus


  • January 2019: Making Learning Everyday

  • September 2020: Making Learning Everyday – aligning purpose with process

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation’s Insights Report

Following the May 2017 event, Esmée Fairbairn published an insights report ‘Learning from our grants’





read-more read the report


The roundtable presented an excellent opportunity to reflect critically on evaluation practice within my own organisation, and gain a better understanding of how other organisations were approaching evaluation.”


Evaluation Roundtable participant



Front cover image for Improving Evaluation Design


Improving Evaluation Design

Ben Cairns, Katie Turner

This paper, produced for the Evaluation Roundtable event on 27th April 2016, offers a practical resource for foundation staff in assessing and/or improving their processes for the design stage of commissioning external evaluations.

Front cover image for Evaluation within UK Trusts and Foundations


Evaluation Within UK Trusts and Foundations

Tanya Beer, Ben Cairns, Julia Coffman, Rebecca Moran

This report presents the first ever picture of evaluation within larger trusts and foundations in the UK.

Thank you


A big thank you to those who contribute funding and their time throughout the year and to CCLA for hosting Roundtable events.



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