Evaluating annual reviews

A Year in A Life - evaluating annual reviews

A Year in A Life – Best practice Guide to Annual Publications

Extracts from this blog are included in the latest CharityComms guide to great Annual Reviews – A Year in the Life – but you can read the full text here. Thank you Jennifer Campbell for asking me to contribute to the CharityComms’ guide.

The key to effectively evaluating annual reviews is planning. Too often the process of putting together an annual review starts with a brainstorm about what stories, pictures and statistics can we get our hands on. All necessary ingredients but you can’t evaluate your annual review effectively without first agreeing its purpose.

The goal of all charity communications should be to have a positive influence on a defined audience’s knowledge, attitudes and/or behaviours to help you achieve your charitable mission. An annual review is no different. It needs a clearly defined purpose to justify spending resources on production and distribution and for you to understand whether it is an effective communication.

You will need agreement across a senior team about:

Once you have answered these questions, you know what your annual review is intended to achieve and can work out what to evaluate.

Don’t just stop at the numbers

An evaluation needs to include both quantitative and qualitative data. All too often, charity evaluations stop at measuring numbers, such as copies distributed, people reached, responses received, etc. – ever easier with free analytics tools providing sophisticated data. However, to get meaningful insights about whether your annual review is effective at influencing people, you need to ask questions and capture people’s descriptive responses. Use staff meetings, emails, surveys, interviews, feedback forms and social media shout outs to test whether your annual reviews have the desired effects on the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of your target audience.

Finally, combine quantitative and qualitative data results and analysis to understand whether your annual review is a strategically sound investment.*

* While you are obliged to file your annual accounts and report with the Charity Commission, there is no legal requirement for charities to produce a public-facing review or impact report.

Please share any tips you have for evaluating annual reviews – we’d love to hear them hello@www.redpencil.co.uk

Go Back