Things to consider when planning your project to make sure you will be able to measure its success


  • Will I need to report back on my project?

    Typically we ask for a brief progress report from funded projects 6 months after your grant offer, and require an end of project report. We will adjust these timescales if you tell us when you think your project will be complete.


    If your project is complete when we contact you for a progress update, there should be no need for a further report, but we may ask you to provide a little more detail to enable us to accept this as a final report.


    Progress reports can be completed on a straightforward online form, which will be provided to you. Like the application form, you can attach supporting information and evidence to your form.


    Occasionally you may be asked to participate in additional monitoring – any specific requirements will be stated in the Funding Agreement, so please ensure you have read and understood before signing.


    We will always get in touch with the main contact for group (as stated in your application) for updates, so if contacts change please let us know.


    We, and the fundholder who has awarded your grant, will be keen to hear how your project progresses, and will be pleased to receive any case studies, photos, video or press clippings you would like to share. Occasionally fundholders or NCF staff may wish to visit, which we will arrange with your group in advance.

  • Why monitor my project?

    We monitor the progress of the projects we fund to:

    • Show the difference our grants make, both individually and across all NCF grantmaking
    • Present evidence to donors of the impact and benefit of their funding
    • Help even small community groups understand how to set objectives, and measure the outcomes of their work
    • Provide support and advice to awardees throughout the life of the grant

    Even if a project does not fully meet all its objectives, it can still provide useful learning for the future.

  • What if things go wrong?

    We know things don’t always go to plan – don’t worry, get in touch with the Grants Team if you hit any difficulties or need to make changes. You don’t have to wait until we contact you for a report, we can advise at any time.

  • How do I show the difference my project will make?

    We are primarily interested in the benefit our grants will bring to local people, and the difference they will make in your community – not just what you will spend the grant on.

    You may have a straightforward request to repair a village hall roof, but in order to make the case we want to hear about who uses the building, its importance to local people, what will change when the roof is fixed – will more people use it? Would new groups start to hire the hall? Getting more people involved can have wider benefits, for example reducing isolation, or helping people access local services.

    Thinking about the difference your project will make when you make an application will help us to understand that your work is important, and help you evaluate the success of your project.

  • How can I show that my project has been successful?

    It’s helpful to think about how you will evaluate your project, or measure success, when you are planning your application. It doesn’t have to be complicated – we’re just looking for realistic ways of noting a change or improvement. That might be recording feedback, visitor/ user numbers, taking photos to show equipment in use or even sending us a short video of your project in action – you can attach video files to our monitoring form (you will need to get permission from those being filmed or photographed).

    If you are doing more specialist work with a particular group, you may already have tools in place to measure participants’ progress – such as the Outcomes Star.

  • What makes a good case study?

    A case study is a good way to provide an example of how your project has benefited someone, or a group of people, particularly. We don’t ask for any personal information that will allow the person to be identified.

    “Our lunch club provides older people with somewhere to go to meet new friends on Friday afternoons.”

    Compare with:

    “I live for Friday afternoons. I go to the lunch club every week. It’s the only day when I’m not stuck at home on my own, and I look forward to having a chat and a nice lunch. I don’t make meals like that for myself at home. When I’m feeling under the weather the volunteers will even come and pick me up, so I don’t miss out. They keep an eye on me and notice when I’m under the weather. I really feel looked after”.

    The second is clearly more effective in showing how great the club is, and how people benefit.  Using the voices of the people you help is a good way to demonstrate the benefits of your work.

  • What makes a good photo or video?

    Remember to get permission from people who will be featured – we will use the photos and videos you send us online and in our publicity.

    Photos can be a great way to show your project in action, and most smartphones these days are able to shoot a short video. Remember, we like to see the benefit to people so try to include people in your pictures – smiling people looking towards the camera make all the difference! Even if we just funded equipment, try to show people using it.