Charities play a vital part in UK society. They support people in a variety of ways, including providing direct support services, campaigning on issues and carrying out research. The ethos and values of charities drive them to try and achieve the greatest impact at the lowest cost, ensuring that the funding available makes the most difference.
Achieving this requires that the activities of charities are informed by credible and reliable evidence, and evaluation is part of this. Many charities employ research and evaluation staff, ranging from below one full-time equivalent person to multiple people. This means some have peers to support and advise them, whilst others may find themselves working alone. This is where the Charity Evaluation Working Group (ChEW) steps in.
ChEW was started in 2011 as an informal gathering of evaluation managers from a small number of charities. It provided the opportunity to access peer to peer support to discuss evaluation related issues and challenges. Over the years this informal gathering grew with more people wishing to access these opportunities, and four to five events were organised every year with presentations, discussions and opportunities to meet fellow members working in or with an interest in evaluation in the charity sector.
To build on these foundations, and to grow and sustain the work of ChEW as a network for people interested in measuring the impact of the charity sector through sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences with each other, CHEW became a registered charity in August 2019.