This post provides a summary of our first event at The Gathering - Scotland’s largest event for charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations – and associated resources.

We also hosted a free live webinar version of this event in March 2020, which you can watch here:

If you watch the recorded webinar, we would be grateful if you could give us your feedback by answering three short multiple choice questions in our SmartSurvey.

The resources provided at the bottom of this post are relevant for both the webinar and The Gathering event.

Why this event?

Telling a meaningful story about how your organisation contributes to improving outcomes for the people and communities you care about is becoming more and more important. Not only does it help in applying for funding, but it is also increasingly a requirement when reporting to funders and commissioners.  

At Matter of Focus we believe that telling a good story of the work your organisation does brings other benefits too. It helps bring your organisational purpose and vision to life; identify areas for improvement and showcases the achievements of your staff, volunteers and the people and communities you work with.  

Over the past five years we have developed a straightforward and practical approach to evaluating outcomes that is being used successfully by a wide range of third sector and public sector organisations.  

What we did

Ailsa Cook hosted the hour-long session, starting with a presentation covering:

  • what are outcomes
  • how outcomes can be used as a framework for action
  • understanding the context of your work
  • understanding the difference between contribution and attribution
  • our practical and engaging framework to help you show your contribution to improving outcomes
  • tools to help you evidence your contribution
Our simple framework to help you understand change can be used for communication, learning, evaluation and reporting
Ailsa Cook Matter of Focus presenting in front of an audience at The Gathering 2020

The session involved a couple of breakout sessions for everyone to have a go at telling a story of a piece of work they are proud of using our headings. Participants also had a chance to think about how they could evidence their work using our reflective impact log. 

Who attended this event?

110 people from across 75 organisations attended the event. Organisations spanned all areas of the voluntary sector and our audience included CEOs and people responsible for fundraising, projects, communications, development, strategy.

How did people feel about the event?

We are grateful to everyone that left their written feedback about the event.

The content was described as “particularly relevant” and “informative;” with several people identifying the “strong clear examples,” “lack of jargon” and “really accessible language” as aspects of the presentation they appreciated.

If you are interested in the summary of feedback, here is our report (pdf).

Resources from the event

Is OutNav right for your work?

OutNav is the cloud-based software we developed to support organisations to embed outcome focused evaluation in their projects and programmes. You can read more here: What is OutNav?

How much does OutNav cost?

Subscriptions to OutNav start at £850 per year. The cost is dependent on the size of your project, rather than the size of your team – that is, you can have multiple team members all working on your project in OutNav, wherever they are based.

We know that budget can be a constraint for small organisations so we also offer collective support packages to groups of smaller organisations. For example, the Edinburgh Community Health Forum is an OutNav subscriber, with nine individual organisations using OutNav under that umbrella subscription.

If you are wondering whether OutNav might be right for your work, we would be happy to have a chat about your evaluation and learning needs to explore this further. Please get in touch.

Ways to get in touch