Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Measuring the impact of ESF projects

This week we held an event in The Bobbin cafe in Belfast City Hall to support newly funded European Social Fund projects to measure the impact of their work. We were delighted to see so many people there from a wide variety of organisations, all keen to talk about how they can ensure they measure the true impact of their programmes and communicate this well.

Measure and Communicate Your Impact
 
The event was hosted by Stephen McGarry of Gauge. Stephen began the morning by talking through the basics of social impact measurement – what is it, why do it and how to do it. In particular, he spoke of how important it is for organisations to understand the true value of the work they are doing so they can clearly communicate this to funders.
 
 
Stephen was joined by Pam Hunter of Nexus who has been through the process of measuring the value of their organisation using Social Return on Investment (SROI) and creating an Impact Card which provides an at a glance picture of the value of their work. 
 
Pam is a strong advocate of SROI and told the audience that she often utilises their Impact Card when in conversation with stakeholders or potential funders. She stressed the importance of being armed with evidence of the value of your work so that you have it to hand when faced with potential budget cuts, rather than starting to think about measuring your impact at that time. 
 
As Chief Executive of Nexus Pam has encouraged the board of directors to invest in impact measurement from reserves in order to best prepare the organisation for future tender and funding opportunities.
 
ESF Projects
 
The audience then broke into smaller discussion groups; each chaired by someone experienced in impact measurement, and chatted in more detail about their own organisations. 
 
 
Some key themes that came up in the conversations were:
 
1.  There are a confusing number of tools and measures available,  projects require clearer guidance and support on what outcomes they should be measuring.
2. Organisations want to challenge themselves to answer the question – is what we are doing really improving people’s lives?
3. People want to be able to tell the story of the impact experienced by the individuals they are working with – not simply state ‘they got a job’.
 
It was exciting to hear about the great projects which are going to be happening throughout Northern Ireland as a result of this round of ESF funding – we look forward to finding out what impact they have.
 
If you are working on funded project and would like to talk about measuring its impact, get in touch with Gauge for a chat on 02890 234414 or info@gaugeni.co.uk. Gauge is a social enterprise business, our profits are reinvested into the NOW Group supporting people with barriers to employment and learning into the workforce across Northern Ireland.
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN