ROCOP Grant Holders Attend Networking Event on Measuring Impact
The event started with some wonderful news for the grant holders. Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director announced that they had made available funding for a further year for each of the ROCOP projects. Beth Bell, Funding Manager from Big Lottery Fund advised projects how they could apply for this funding in the last year of their current funding. The announcement was greeted with delighted applause from the grant holders and several commented on the significant impact the money was having working to improve the lives of older people and thanked the Big Lottery Fund for this investment.
Andrea Thornbury, NICVA’s Research Officer then outlined the importance of evidence, such as assessing how organisations are meeting need, distance travelled and demonstrating new possibilities. She also described how growing fiscal pressures mean more demand for measurable results and how solid evidence of effectiveness and value demonstrates best value. She gave examples of best practice such as Barnardos developing the evidential approach to practice in childcare and The Now Group Social Return on Investment indicators (SROI).
Teresa Geraghty, Senior Research & Development Officer at National Children’s Bureau shared her experience of measuring impact. She outlined various measurement tools that could be used such as Rickter Scale, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs), Wemwebs, Star Outcomes and self-developed tools. She highlighted several challenges that we face when measuring impact including: needs of the service user vs the needs of the project, collecting and recording data and engaging other stakeholders. Teresa concluded by saying “Measuring impact should be an integral part of your work, done for your beneficiaries, not to just fulfil funders’ requirements.”
Sandra Bailie, Head of Organisational Development in NICVA introduced delegates to the Inspiring Impact programme. She started by mentioning the 2012 survey by New Philanthropy Capital, Making an impact, examined the state of impact measurement across the UK charity sector. She went on to describe the Code of Good Impact Practice, the Impact Cycle, Measuring Up tool and Impact hub and signposted delegates to the resources available online. She said “The online tools and resources are a great help to organisations in measuring their impact. Further free help and support is also available through the NI regional programme of activities including masterclasses and one to one support.”
The event ended with a time of group discussion around the first stage planning questions from the Measuring Up tool. Delegates had the opportunity to consider what evidence they already gathered, what action they needed to take and any further support they required. This also provided a chance for delegates to network and share experiences.
Stephen Gourley from Engage with Age commented on the day: “I got some very useful tips for improving our gathering of evidence, lots of food for thought. Inspiring Impact is a good model of good practice that we can use to improve our impact evidence gathering”