Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Why The Evaluator loves Networking

The Evaluator started in April 2017, as a business it's just over two years old. It's grown, quite organically, with word of mouth recommendations.

Things changed in December 2018 when Kirsty Rose Parker, our director, went from working part time on this to full time. All of a sudden, she could say yes to events and attend more stuff.

That has made a huge difference. Clients have increased, turnover has increased and more work means more innovation which all the existing clients are benefiting from too. Kirsty puts this all down to networking.

 "Meeting people in person means you can explain what you do much more effectively and people do still buy people" Kirsty says. 

Often, people don't fully understand what an evaluator does and once it's explained most people understand how helpful it can be. After all, which business or charity doesn't want to be as effective as they can be. Knowing what an audience experience is, or which part of the work is most effective can often be the difference between surviving and thriving.

With all that in mind, what are our top tips for networking:

  1. Think about your ideal audience - who are they and where will they be?
  2. Search out free events - good ones for The Evaluator are often ones run by funding bodies like The Arts Council or National Lotttery Fund for Heritage.
  3. Look on eventbrite - you can search for what is happening by area or day and often come across some perfect events. 
  4. Show up on time, with plenty of business cards.
  5. The Evaluator made up a paper portfolio and took this round to show examples of their work - this was a great success as it easily explained the different ways an evaluation can help people. 
  6. Smile and chat to people. It can sometimes feel a bit scary, but usually everyone is feeling much the same. 
  7. Try some formal networking routes - The Evaluator tried out BNI, Shout and Girl Tribe Gang. All of them were well organised and full of interesting people. The Evaluator isn't able to commit the time needed to really do one of these properly at the moment - as they only work if you can attend regularly and spend time getting to know the other people around the table. The Evaluator plans to join one of these formally within the next few months. 
  8. Don't be disheartened if one of the events doesn't work out like you had hoped. In a way you never know who is attending and who might hear of something relevant in the future. 
  9. Just enjoy meeting new people.

Networking is now an embedded part of The Evaluator's business, with months allocated during the year to dedicate to this - we have chosen January and September for a networking focus and commit to attending one event each month in addition.

Watch out for us popping up at an event near you!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Collecting people's experiences through games; Arts Bingo

Collecting information doesn't have to be boring. Sometimes a piece of paper is absolutely the best option, but sometimes you want to do something different.

Back in 2018, The Evaluator started working with In-Situ - an arts organisation who had just gained Arts Council England 'National Portfolio Organisation' status. Right at the beginning of their NPO journey they wanted a benchmark - to understand what impact they were currently having, or not-having, and commissioned The Evaluator to carry out a creative benchmarking exercise.

In-Situ are a socially engaged arts practice, who use the term 'embedded'. They have long term aims around bringing arts into the everyday life of people living in their local area - Brierfield immediately and Pendle as a slightly wider aim.

The Evaluator wanted to try and create a measure that could show how much people engaged with arts in their everyday life, now, and for it to be easy to replicate in the future so the team can measure if the work they are doing is changing attitudes over time.

Trying to capture a wider sense of something is usually best done by asking quite a lot of questions, although this could feel quite repetitive for those taking part.

The solution to this was 'Arts Bingo'.

Playing 'Arts Bingo' with people across Pendle, some of whom were new to working with In-Situ and some of whom had been working with In-Situ for a long time, gave a clear picture. The longer people worked with In-Situ, the more engaged in arts they became. 

It was great fun to play too - sometimes we even had members of the audience taking their turn as bingo callers. A really simple idea, well executed and with great data as an outcome. 

In-Situ were so pleased with the work carried out for them, they appointed The Evaluator to be their Evaluator-in-residence. 

The Evaluator will definitely be playing more bingo in the future. 

Saturday, 30 March 2019

We have been nominated for an award...

Exciting times! The Evaluator, which is led by director, Kirsty Rose Parker has been nominated for an 'Enterprise Vision Award' which recognises women in business in the North West of England. In fact, it's the largest event of it's kind outside London.

We won't find out for ages if we have won, although we do get to put posh frocks on and head over to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Wish us luck!

Monday, 18 March 2019

Wonderful feedback

Here at The Evaluator we spend most of our working time gathering lovely feedback for our clients, its a real treat when they give us lovely feedback back, this time about Kirsty, our director...

Friday, 1 March 2019

What goes into an Evaluation?

If you are thinking about an Evaluation there are many different ways to structure one. All of this can seem a bit overwhelming and this is where an evaluation consultant can really help you to get the most out of your evaluation.

All you really need to know is; What are the questions you want answered? Sometimes this can be as simple as 'Are we reaching the people we should?' Sometimes it can be more complex and involve trying to work out the social change for people involved in your project or activity. Sometimes it can be about proving what you believe to be anecdotally true.

We have a graphic, which can help us to show you which part of the process is best for your project.

Depending on your budget, and the time available, The Evaluator can help you to choose the right methods. Then we can either do all the work for you, or help you to develop those methods yourself.

The Evaluator is flexible, and easy to work with. Let us know if you want to chat about anything, we are always happy to have a coffee and a conversation. 

You can reach us on 07837 896 698 or email kirsty@theevaluator.co.uk  

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Evaluator working with Pendle Leisure Trust

The Evaluator is delighted to announce a new client. We will be working with Pendle Leisure Trust on a few projects, but initially we are doing a 'Social Return on Investment' for the Trust.

Pendle Leisure Trust is someone we have known for a long time, not only is The Evaluator based in Pendle, but our director used to be employed by Pendle Leisure Trust.

Kirsty says "It's really nice to be back. Things have changed, both for the company and for myself but there is still a real warmth there, and it's lovely to see all my old colleagues again."

Pendle Leisure Trust is the leading provider of leisure services in East Lancashire; with swimming pools, gyms, a spa, entertainment spaces and community projects among the many services it delivers. It touches the lives of many people in Pendle, and further afield, so mapping out a 'Social Return on Investment' is a large undertaking. We are confident we can show the range of services and values effectively though.

You can see more about Pendle Leisure Trust here, https://www.pendleleisuretrust.co.uk/