Impact & Evaluation
Film is a highly accessible and inclusive form of demonstrating your work
What is Evaluation?
Evaluation is basically forming an idea of what the value of something is and to what extent objectives have been met. It is a crucial part of good project management. Many funders require service-providers to demonstrate how their money has been spent and what the value of its outcomes has been.
Planning Your Evaluation
Think ahead – try using film to get some of your baseline data – I am happy to work with you in the early stages of your project, helping you to collect general imformation, focussing on the indicators that you think are important eg interviewing people to find out information about their current situation, aspirations and belief before you begin working with them.
In the ideal scenario, evaluation will be an integral part of the planning process when a service/project is set up and a budget can be allocated at this point to gathering data, identifying which questions will be asked etc.
Very often, however, film is only included retrospectively, when the client wants to demonstrate how successful a project has been.
This in a sense is when much of the impact can be seen. Participants can be interviewed, filmed in everyday or specific activities; they can take part in focus groups, set up for the sole purpose of evaluation.
See this example below of a simple video that allows participants to express the impact a course has had on their lives.
Testimonial from The Footprint Trust
"We recently worked with Sassy Productions on a short video to demonstrate the impact of the Trust’s work. Sandy and her team were friendly, personable and fast working. We had our video within weeks! Our clients who participated in the film commented on how kind and professional Sassy Productions were. They completely understood what we were hoping to achieve with the film and we’re really pleased with the result."
Laura, May 2019
Participatory evaluation is a qualitative method of researching the impact of a service, involving experiential learning and reflection. It is good to involve as many people with a direct stake in the work as possible, using a facilitator from outside of the service. The benefits of this form of evaluation is that service-users are involved in the process and thereby take ownership of the results, helping to improve the service and possibly leading to them valuing the service more highly.
The service provider is able to evaluate the quality of the service as perceived by the service user. Qualitative measurement can inform you of how people feel about a situation, how things are really done, or how people behave. In addition to this, they have fun, learn new skills, form bonds, increase in self-confidence and awareness and so on.
Participatory evaluation is well used and documented in work with communities in developing countries (see InsightShare.org) It can work successfully with school aged children and young adults, through to older adults, including those with learning difficulties.
Using film in participatory evaluation has a number of positive outcomes. The fun element of filming is not to be underestimated or undervalued. More timid individuals, who may well turn down invitations to “be filmed” may become engaged in behind the camera work and thereby become actively involved in the evaluation process, thus contributing to the improvement of the service.
In general film is used in impact evaluation, where the focus is on showing how a project has met its aims and objectives. It can be a powerful ool in your evaluation kit.
If film is to be used as part of the evaluation, it is useful to have some involvement from the film maker at this early stage and perhaps include the filming of some “baseline footage”, eg showing how the clients are, recording attitudes/beliefs and so on, before intervention. Service providers can then be filmed in action, identifying key features/events and so on.
Use film as an integral cycle of action- reflection. You may well already have video recording equipment available to you for this purpose, but many people are reluctant to use it for any number of reasons/excuses. By working with me you will become more comfortable with looking at yourself on film.