Our Capability Development Scheme supported seven organisations through challenging issues. We spoke to Rachel Watkinson, Head of Services and Development at Galloway’s Society of the Blind, about how the scheme gave them the confidence to measure the impact of their services.
“It has been one of the most powerful projects that we’ve been a part of in terms of changing and really looking to the future.” Rachel Watkinson
Why did you apply to the scheme?
“As a whole organisation, we now have a much higher regard for impact and see it as an important enabler for growth.”
As a community charity, our funding depends on communicating our impact to the people and organisations that support our work. But we weren’t measuring our impact consistently or in a systematic way, which meant we found it much harder to influence others to help us to attract the financial support we needed for our work. We had the data that told us how many people we help, but didn’t know how best to capture and communicate the difference that our services make to people with sight loss.
So we applied to the Capability Development Scheme with the view of getting expert help with figuring out how to tell our story in a better, more meaningful way that focuses on demonstrating the impact of our services.
We also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of our impact because I want Galloway’s to deliver services that are co-produced and influenced by our beneficiaries. This means we can make sure what we’re doing is actually helping! And that we’re not just doing something because we’ve always done it a certain way.
What’s happened since?
As a whole organisation, we now have a much higher regard for impact and see it as an important enabler for growth. We are now recruiting for a role which will continue to champion impact by taking the blueprint that we learned with MKS and using it with all our services.
We are also now regularly engaging with our beneficiaries at activities and events to understand the impact of our services. We recently did this on a residential trip where we used our newly learned tools and methods to measure impact ourselves in a way we’ve never done before. Not only did this work well, but we captured new insights into the value the trip provided to people with sight loss.
What was the best part of the support you received?
What we loved about the scheme was that the support was tailored to us. MKS took the time to really understand us as an organisation. They advised starting with measuring the impact of just one of our services because impact measurement isn’t a “one size fits all”. This then gave us the confidence to take that learning into our other services.
Essentially, they kept it simple and practical so we could build our skills in impact measurement in a sustainable way. We were also able to involve lots of people across Galloway’s in workshops, from board members to the service team, which brought us all together to learn.
“My thanks go to the Dunhill Medical Trust because this scheme is a really great way of helping charities and organisations to grow”
What would you say to other charities finding it hard to measure impact?
It’s nerve-wracking starting the journey because charities have so little time to take a step back and plan. Although this process was time-consuming, it has been one of the most powerful projects that we’ve been a part of in terms of changing and really looking to the future. We now have the methodology to effectively and emotively communicate what our services offer.
What makes this scheme stand out?
This is a different way of supporting charities. Grant funding is usually around a project which will end up supporting only a finite number of older people. My thanks go to the Dunhill Medical Trust because this scheme is a really great way of helping charities and organisations to grow and therefore go on to support more people in their communities. I’m really confident that once we get our impact measurement where we want it to be, we will reach more people with our services. I would certainly look at doing something like this again.
How the scheme has helped Galloways Society of the Blind
The Capability Development Scheme that ran in 2021/2022 successfully helped Galloway’s Society of the Blind measure their impact. The charity now has a much better understanding of how their services make a difference to people and they are using the tools and methods they learnt to communicate this impact more effectively. As a result, Galloway’s Society of the Blind are in a much better position to secure funding so that they can ultimately support more people with vision loss.