Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity
Author: Kate Sunners
A very interesting report on outcomes and impact measurement has just been released by UWA’s Centre for Social Impact, in partnership with the Bankwest Foundation.
So much of our own experience in working with charities and philanthropists is reiterated in these findings.
“Robust and rigorous outcomes measurement is essential to the community sector demonstrating its value to funders, clients, and members of society that are not directly affected by their services. Arguably more importantly, however, is the importance of outcomes measurement to designing and implementing programs that deliver positive outcomes for people in need and society generally.” (1)
In brief the report findings were:
- There’s been a slight decrease in the number of organisations measuring outcomes from 2018 to 2019 (regardless of charity size).
- Those who were actively measuring outcomes, largely did so across all activities, suggesting “outcomes measurement practice has quite high barriers to entry – that it is a steep learning curve that requires investment of time and financial resources. However, once this barrier has been overcome, practice is readily transferred across all activities.” (1)
- Evaluation tools which capture change over the longer term were not being used by many organisations who participated in the survey.
- Outcomes data was most frequently used by organisations to improve the performance of their programs in achieving outcomes, and for funder reporting.
- Barriers to outcomes measurement identified were lack of funding, lack of staff capacity, and lack of internal skills.
- A large proportion of charities were unclear on, or unaware of state government outcome measurement frameworks and policies.
- Findings suggested that organisations were not including a line item for evaluation costs in tenders, with the misperception that it would put them at a competitive disadvantage.
Read the ProBono news article on the report: https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2019/04/nfps-struggling-to-measure-their-impact/
Callis, Z., Seivwright, A., and Flatau, P., (2019) Outcomes Measurement in the Australian Community Sector: A National Report Card, Bankwest Foundation Social Impact Series, No. 10, Bankwest Foundation, Western Australia. https://apo.org.au/node/229686
Author: Dr Karleen Gwinner
On Thursday 4th April in Brisbane, Bolton Clarke hosted a symposium called Social Connection in Older Age. The symposium was jam-packed with evidence of the need and what works to prevent or reduce social isolation and loneliness among older Australians in the community and in care.
Key take-aways from the symposium included:
* People who are lonely have worse physical and mental health and are more likely to be depressed. With 1 in 4 Australians feeling lonely this is a growing concern (Lim, Rodebaugh, Zyphur and Gleeson, 2016).
* Social connections are as important to health as regular exercise or not smoking. Meaningful participation in groups is significant and researchers are calling for a ‘social cure’ (Jetten, Haslam, Haslam and Branscombe, 2009).
* The Older Women Living Alone (OWLa) study is examining the barriers and enablers to accessing services, and what strategies older women may need to maximise their health, wellbeing and independence.
* The One Good Street initiative, uses social networking to give neighbours the opportunity to offer knowledge, assistance and skills for older people and their carers through a supported platform that recognises the resources are already available and includes positive ageing activities and education.
* Group singing can increase social bonding, wellbeing and assist and memory decline in older adults (Dingle, Williams, Jetten, and Welch 2017)
The symposium drove home the importance of monitoring and evaluating programs to help improve services and deliver optimum support to beneficiaries. This means not only collecting data and analysing it but translating the evidence into practice, so that you meet the real needs of your cause. Strong evidence can help your organisation demonstrate capabilities, underscore the need you want to address and illustrate how your service aids your beneficiaries; all of which are important to know when applying for and to secure funding.
Evaluation and monitoring are necessary activities at all stages of program development. Evaluation and monitoring forms the basis for continuous improvement and value for money service delivery.
If you don’t have a monitoring and evaluation framework in place give us a call. Or check out our webinar here
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