Linking what you do, to what funders want
CWVYS has been working on an outcomes approach and has produced a series of proposals for the Welsh Government with the full support of Youth Work Alliance Wales.
The paper, Towards an outcomes and impact approach for the youth sector in Wales (copy available here) draws on the work and experience of a number of bodies including the Young Foundation.
It emphasises the need for an approach which takes into account the experience of voluntary youth organisations, is straightforward in operation and supports rather than detracts from their work.
Outcomes and the new National Youth Work Strategy for Wales
The new strategy includes the introduction of a National Outcomes Framework for youth work, providing a sound basis for accountability, benchmarking and results. So now is a good time to get better acquainted with the principles. A copy of the National Youth Work Strategy for Wales can be found here
CWVYS will continue to develop its work on outcomes and keep you updated with this area of development.
If we don’t measure
- We can’t be sure what works
- We can’t identify what doesn’t work
- It is difficult to prove we are good at what we do
- Money may be invested in the wrong things or not at all
Here are some tips on how youth work organisations can show how they make a difference to the lives of young people in a way the funders can understand and link to bigger social objectives.
Tips of good measurement
- Identify your goal – The goal/target must be clear, understood, realistic but ambitious, defined and succinct. It may have been identified by you or defined by the funder/commissioner
Increase the number of young people continuing education
- What needs to happen for this to be achieved? – Think of the last change that needs to happen before reaching the ultimate goal –what are the most immediate preconditions?
The young person needs to develop their capability in resilience, emotional intelligence, personal goal setting, increased self-belief to be successful in education
- Aligning activities with outcomes – What do you do/need to do to achieve the outcomes set out? Which of your activities develop these capabilities?
Playing sport increases resilience, team activities increase self- belief and emotional intelligence, outward bound activities increase aspirations
- What else is needed? – Does this approach make sense? What are you assuming is in place? Is there anything that you are taking for granted. What other complementary activities do you offer?
Substance misuse referral, childcare, counselling, coaching
- What do we want to measure? – What outcomes should be measured? They must be measurable (by you), defined, controllable and unique to your work. Measure the change you make
Improved emotional intelligence, resilience, self-belief
What else is worth knowing?
How do we measure?
- Pre and post measurement is critical
- You can use self-assessment questionnaires, 1:1 interviews, focus groups, graffiti walls, observations…
- A wide variety of tools specifically designed for youth work can be found here Matrix and tools
How do we describe what we do?
The Young Foundation conducted extensive research to identify and describe the outcomes of youth work as 7 clusters of capabilities, and linked evidence of their impact on social outcomes. More, very useful information can be found here, or by request from CWVYS.
Capability Clusters example :
“communication – Research from the University of Sheffield suggests that good communication is essential for a successful transition to work or training, for independence and to access a range of life opportunities. Both the Rose Review and Bercow Report highlighted the role of communication in attainment, and forming positive relationships. Improved communication skills have also been linked to reductions in reoffending”
Similar evidence exists for the other clusters
- confidence and agency
- planning and problem solving
- relationships and leadership
- resilience and determination
- managing feelings
More information is available to help to articulate how your work benefits young people, the community and society. If you would like to know more please see the list of resources below or contact CWVYS. We are also able to provide a workshop tailored to your organisation, its projects and plans.
Towards an outcomes and impact approach for the youth sector in Wales -Full document can be found here