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Research and resources

Informing direction and structure of our effectiveness programme

Open books

Bond has commissioned this research to inform the direction and structure of our effectiveness programme.

Below, you'll also find some key surveys into opinions of partners and members.

Impact Evaluation: A Guide for Commissioners and Managers

Elliot Stern

All those who are involved in practical development work, whether nationally or internationally, face demands for 'impact evaluation'. Funders, stakeholders and the public at large want to know that funds are used to good effect -that they achieve results and improve the lives of people and their communities.

This guide is designed to help decision makers within civil society organisations and those that fund them to better understand how to commission, manage and use impact evaluations. The guide outlines the theory behind and the frameworks for designing impact evaluation, explores various methodologies, and gives practical advice on writing terms of reference (ToRs) and proposals.

The report was prepared by Elliot Stern for Bond, the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief and DFID, and released in May 2015.

Impact Evaluation guide


Investing in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

This study was commissioned by Comic Relief, DFID, Big Lottery Fund, NIDOS and Bond to address the lack of evidence available to support NGOs working in international development in deciding what resources to commit to monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL).

The study focused on understanding the full investment that NGOs are making on MEL, the kinds of MEL systems that NGOs have, and how NGOs use and value their MEL systems.

Small NGOs

Nikki Jeffery

Half of Bond members are small organisations with an annual turnover of less than £1 million. Bond is therefore proud to support this research which shines a light on this critical issue and the dilemmas and challenges faced by small NGOs in the quest to survive.

"The Small Majority" is a research report looking at the distinctive contribution to international development of smaller organisations. The report was researched and written by Nikki Jeffery, a 2013 Clore Social Fellow who undertook the study after she became increasingly aware, when she was chief executive of a small UK international development charity, of questions being asked about the role and value of such organisations. Through this research Nikki sought to identify whether small UK INGOs are valuable contributors to international development, whether they have distinctive characteristics which contribute to their effectiveness and impact, and how they can best be supported to take advantage of opportunities in the changing development landscape. This report has informed the work that Bond is now doing to better engage and assist smaller member organisations.

Evaluation standards

Christina Laybourn

This briefing paper offers a concise overview of current practices and debates in the field of NGO evaluations, particularly of development and humanitarian work. Whilst it is by no means comprehensive, it aims to present pertinent issues and stimulate discussion. The first section provides an overview of evaluation mechanisms, methodologies, and quality initiatives. The second section summarises some of the most common challenges experienced by NGOs conducting evaluations, drawing on comments from NGO professionals, websites and research articles. Finally, there is a short bibliography of existing toolkits and standards, and relevant reading, where the issues can be explored in more detail.



Rob Lloyd and Christina Laybourn, One World Trust

Bond commissioned the One World Trust to make a comparative analysis of quality frameworks being used across the sector and beyond. The research will considered the design, implementation and use of several different approaches ranging from HAP, SPHERE, and the People in Aid Standard, to ISO 9000, EFQM, and ISEAL. The findings in the report informed the presentation of options at a working meeting of the Bond Effectiveness Programme.




Anna Stobart

Bond commissioned a study to capture and examine sector learning on Partnerships. Many NGOs have undertaken their own internal reviews of relationships with their partners in the south, and introduced their own guidelines or policies to ensure these partnerships are conducted properly and to deliver real benefit. Little of this knowledge and experience has been shared to wider sector advantage. The findings were discussed at the 22 June 2010 meeting, and options considered for developing and trialling this aspect of the effectiveness programme.



Keystone partner survey 2010-2011

The INGO partner survey collected feedback from over 1,000 overseas partners on behalf of 25 international NGOs. The report, which summarises the feedback from all of the partners, contains powerful new data on the performance of international aid agencies. The two major findings from the report are:

1. Local organisations do not want to be treated as sub-contractors of aid agencies. They want help to become independent and influential organisations in their own right.

2. Feedback from partners is a reliable way of measuring performance. Benchmarks provide direct comparisons between aid agencies. The report calls for a new reporting standard for agencies that fund local partners.

More information is available on the Keystone website.


Civil Society Organisations' Effectiveness

The purpose of this survey was to consult with members primarily on a new global civil society organisations initiative on development effectiveness, the Open Forum for CSO effectiveness. One of the key findings from the survey was CSOs should be working jointly towards a flexible tool on effectiveness to which CSOs sign up to voluntarily. The survey also found that provision of practical and capacity building support on effective impact assessment, tools and methods on increasing accountability to beneficiaries, and signposting to existing tools and initiatives were areas where bond could play an important role.


A Bond Approach to Quality in NGOs: Putting beneficiaries first

The purpose of this research was to review current practice, experience and needs in the area of quality standards. The research involved: an analysis of the current approaches to quality used by NGOs, an online survey of and focus group discussions with bond members and interviews with key opinion formers and those responsible for the main standards.