It is important that you take time to report both on what you have achieved, how this was done and what you have learned. You should think about:
- Who you need to tell about your project’s achievements and learning?
- What do you need to tell them?
- What is the best way of telling them?
Evaluation Support Scotland has developed a Reporting Template which sets out what most funders are looking for in reports, along with associated Good Practice Tips. These are taken from Harmonising Reporting, a document produced by Evaluation Support Scotland and Scotland Funders' Forum.
Evaluation Support Scotland has also produced a useful guide on Report Writing that sets out the elements that you should include in a self-evaluation report.
You might want to produce different types of report for different people. Here are some general pointers when producing written reports:
- Have a clear purpose.
- Be clear on the scope of the evaluation and timeframe findings relate to.
- Plan your structure, use a logical sequence, and keep it simple.
- Include information which is relevant and useful to your audience.
- Ensure information is accurate and include any necessary warnings about the data.
- Present your findings in context to give evidence more meaning.
- Watch out for personal bias - avoid emotional statements or opinions not based on fact.
- Write as concisely as possible, focusing on the needs of those reading the report and only the information they need, not all of the information collected.
- Use a writing style, appropriate to your audience
- Take time to get the layout and presentation right – combine a clear narrative with data tables, charts, images, quotes, and case studies.
All audiences will appreciate targeted reporting that:
- Anticipates their interests.
- Provides sufficient information; includes details of how to obtain more information if desired.
- Is written in an appropriate and accessible way.
Remember that while some audiences appreciate brevity, others may wish to know more detailed information about the basis of the evidence, interpretation, and priorities for action. The key rule is to match the style to the audience. This may mean using different formats and lengths.
As well as a written report, think creatively about other ways of reporting information. For example, through:
- training events
- your website
- social media
- annual reports
- The Life Changes Trust will provide a template for reports for each funded initiative. It will also provide guidance and support for completing these.
- Evaluation Support Scotland has developed a Reporting Template and Good Practice Tips.
- Evaluation Support Scotland and Scotland Funders' Forum Harmonising Reporting.
- Evaluation Support Scotland guide to Report Writing.
- Further information on Sharing Your Learning is provided elsewhere in this toolkit.