Measuring Impact and Progressive Change Workshop
Date: 7th March
Location: Grant Thornton
On the 7th March, MCF held a workshop style event hosted by Grant Thornton discussing the importance of measuring change within charities and the impact of SDGs.
Better impact, progressive change and the framework of the SDG’s are key considerations for many, if not all organisations within the charitable sector. As such, this event was particularly aimed at Programmes, Policy and Advocacy teams, as we believe that they are and will continue to be the future change makers within the charitable sector and beyond.
Measuring performance and change to assess the effectiveness of your organisation is vital to understanding progress of projects implemented by charities. This workshop was designed to inspire attendees to learn and share some new ideas on how to measure impact, achieve progressive change and work within the framework of the SDGs. We were honoured to have a panel of excellent guest speakers each with a wealth of knowledge and from various backgrounds, focusing on the deliverance of SDGs, the role of the voluntary sector, and exploring progressive change and what this looks like depending on different contexts. We were fortunate to have James Kirkland and Paul Rao, Grant Thornton, Dr Carl Wright, UNA-UK Trustee, and Dr Duncan Green, Oxfam and LSE- all of whom offered their expansive expertise.
The event included a presentation given by each of our speakers, followed by an interactive workshop whereby attendees were split into groups and were tasked with considering a different question regarding the role of SDGs and what impact can look like. In their groups, the attendees were encouraged to think more in-depth about what progressive change looks like, exploring why there seems to be a constant focus on how it can be measured, how long-term impact can be maintained and, considering the users/beneficiaries on the receiving end of the impact.
The discussion centred around the importance of impact measuring and why it is necessary, particularly since for many charities there seems to be an increasing focus on performance alone. The discussion raised some key thoughts regarding the effective tools needed to measure impact and it enabled attendees to consider important issues, such as what is the role of the voluntary sector in delivering the SDGs and, how can the charity sector bring about progressive change. By addressing these vital questions, it encourages charities to consider which instrumental tools are relevant to their needs and would be of help to measure impact in order to deliver the charities mission. The workshop stimulated an intriguing discussion regarding the ways in which charities can ensure they are delivering meaningful change. One of the effective tools to help them do so are SDGs. This is an international framework introduced by the UN which not all charities have formally adopted it. Some interesting points were raised that the SDGs can appear to be obscure, unattainable goals disconnected from reality. However, it can be an instrumental tool in delivering impact when engagement on a local level between civil society and government are encouraged. There was also agreement that for impact to be effective, there needs to be a localisation of SDGs with a bottom-up approach implemented in order to facilitate progressive change by empowering the communities being served.
We were pleased to have had the opportunity to organise this event in partnership with Grant Thornton to deliver an insightful day of learning, sharing and developing ideas. We hope that our attendees reflected on the ideas shared on the day and were able to take what they learnt and apply it in some capacity to their respective organisation’s when planning programmes and implementing effective changes throughout their own projects.