Street League’s fantastic new campaign calls for more charities to address low public confidence in the sector by being more transparent around impact.
To truly support those in need we too have to accept that sometimes we don’t always get the results we want and we have a duty to tell this with accuracy and transparency. Balancing the powerful stories of our young people alongside the bare facts is a key part of this. Which is why like Street League we also pledge to uphold to the three golden rules for reporting:
1. We will never over claim what we do:
We all need to be very aware of this in how we use statistics. There is increasing pressure from funders to be seen to be bigger and working with larger numbers.
We specifically target young people most at risk of future unemployment, who need the most support in order to make a successful transition from school to sustained employment. Nearly three years ago we made a decision to halve the number of young people our Progression Coaches work with in order to allow them to provide the support necessary to support this high risk group.
Instead of making claims of working with large numbers, we instead focus on the ‘distance travelled’ and intensity of support needed to achieve this.
We work with external, independent evaluators to undertake studies of the impact of ThinkForward. We have recently received the result of two evaluations, and will be sharing some of the findings and learnings from these in blogs over the next few days.
2. All percentages are backed up by absolute numbers to avoid being misleading:
We have a huge range of data on the more than 1400 young people we have supported over the past five years. This includes information on their improved attendance and behaviour at school, results in qualifications, progression to college or employment, and whether this was sustained. We report on this to funders and other stakeholders, and look to provide both absolute numbers and context (eg survey response rates) when doing so.
3. All our outcomes could be independently audited:
We ask all our Coaches to collect evidence from third parties regarding outcomes. This might be letters from employers confirming jobs, copies of pay slips or exam results, or school data on changes in attendance or behaviour.
Previously, a large proportion of our funding came through a social impact bond, which required us to submit the above evidence to receive funding. This ended in 2015, but we still feel it is vital to retain this external evidence of the impact of our work.
Using external organisations to undertake evaluations of the impact of ThinkForward helps ensure these studies are independent.
ThinkForward reports on the impact of our activities in a range of ways which are consistent with Street League’s Call for Clarity and with the broader responsibility which we, like Street League, believe that the charity sector has to be clear and transparent when reporting our impact.
– Article written by Luke McCarthy Programme, Development Manager at ThinkForward