Developing a way to measure the impact of our Community Grants

Date September 2018 – Present
Funding £24,238
Project lead The Dunhill Medical Trust and Moore Kingston Smith
Organisation Addenbrookes Charitable Trust/Helix Arts/Independent Arts/Paintings in Hospitals/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Timebanking UK

Published September 2020

The Dunhill Medical Trust funds a wide range of projects within the Community Grants portfolio. This diversity means it is challenging to come up with a universal set of measures to evaluate their impact.

It’s been great to be able to demonstrate the impact that these projects are having within their communities, and even put some numbers on it.

Sarah Allport, Head of Communities and Governance

We wanted to develop a framework or model that could be applied to community-led projects to help us measure the benefits they bring, so we teamed up with Moore Kingston Smith’s charitable impact team to help.

It may sound like bean-counting, but it’s important that those delivering these services have the tools to demonstrate to those who might pay for them, the real benefits they bring.

From value to impact

We focused on a group of projects that were all delivering arts and health-based activities for older people. We worked with the grant holders to develop an impact model that they could use to not only evaluate that particular project, but could apply to any other activities they were running.

To develop the model, we held focus groups and workshops with people working in the organisations to deliver the activities, as well as service users and their families, in order to discover the most important outcomes and benefits that really matter.

The impact model then used established methods to assign monetary values to each of these outcomes, such as the costs saved in reduced numbers of GP visits for people taking part in arts activities. This resulted in a bespoke list of outcomes and values for each of the individual projects, as well as a shared set that applied to them all.

Sustainable funding

It’s been great to be able to demonstrate the impact that these projects are having within their communities, and put some numbers on it. But it’s also important to us that these services and organisations are sustainable in the long term.

Many community projects move from grant to grant for many years, either from the same or different organisations, and in many cases, this is financially unsustainable.  Instead, we want to equip community organisations, which are delivering great services, with the evidence they need to move away from the cycle of grants towards more sustainable long-term funding arrangements.

Sarah Allport, Head of Communities and Governance
Find out more

We’ve written a series of blog posts which provide further information on the project and the organisations involved, the first of which can be read here.