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Showing the impact of our funding

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We want to better understand, measure and communicate our impact. We’re looking at this in different ways so we can build up an overall picture incorporating numbers, stories, research and evaluation; both ours and that of the projects we fund.

Benefits

  • We can say more about the impact of our funding than just £ spent and number of projects
  • We can identify what works well (and less well) and share this information with others.

Challenges

  • Finding ways to aggregate data in a meaningful way from such a diverse range of projects
  • Finding the right balance between broad brush statistics about our aggregated impact and stories about individual projects and beneficiaries.

We've made a start on thinking about different types of impact arising from our own work in Learning about our impact. One important area is our external strategic impact; and we have studied our impact on the third sector as a whole

Your work in numbers

Our impact is more than numbers but they can be useful and persuasive information that help to tell the story.

We talked to some of our projects to build up a picture of our funding in relation to people taking part, jobs, volunteers, organisations and facilities and open spaces.

We found:

  • A total of 2.8 million service users were supported during 2013, with a median of 211 service users per project.
  • More than half a million people regularly used 1 to 1 services during 2013 and more than 300,000 in groups. More than 130,000 used our publicly funded spaces or facilities on a regular basis.
  • Nearly 13,000 people were employed by our projects during 2013 – an average of 5 per project.
  • Over 90,000 volunteers were engaged in The Fund projects and delivered nearly 4 million hours of work in 2013.

Impact Review

This research looked at how good we are at measuring our impact against two specific strategic objectives, ‘isolation’ and ‘transitions’. It examined how effectively these objectives were embedded, and how successfully we were able to track and assess our impact against these.

The report suggested that there are improvements we can make in the following areas:

  • How we define and embed the key objectives that we want to be able to demonstrate impact against
  • How we collect data as part of our outcomes monitoring
  • How we encourage more effective self-evaluation of impact by projects
  • Understanding ongoing impact through longer term tracking of outcomes.

More about the research

Your work in numbers

We’ve struggled to get meaningful number so we commissioned NatCen at the end of 2013 to collect ‘universal data’ from a sample of four demand-led funding programmes across the UK to give us an insight into the scale of outputs resulting from our funding.

NatCen also produced a methodological report and looked at how we might operationalise this type of data collection.

Impact Review

We commissioned Ecorys UK in Autumn 2013 to carry out a focused study on the impact of the Fund’s strategic commitments to support people experience isolation and transition.

The study included a review of policy and programme documentation, analysis of our data, an e-survey of 155 projects from the sampled programmes and qualitative interviews.

Publications

Links to:

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