Citizens UK are well known for their widespread campaigns (Living Wage, CitySafe) and for using the techniques of community organising to build power in civil society institutions. For over 20 years they have trained individual leaders and built networks between institutions in local communities, equipping citizens to achieve the changes they want to see by facilitating alliances in London and across the UK.
Like many organisations, Citizens UK recognised the need to collect more evidence and data to measure their impact in a robust way and report it to their key stakeholders.
Citizens UK were keen to maximise the opportunity to work with an affordable impact measurement expert over the longer term, so that a relationship could be built where useful impact measurement practices were created, implemented and embedded within Citizens UK that could also be sustained afterwards.
Intentionality Associate Consultant Jess Daggers started working with Citizens UK in early 2013 and spent the first few months meeting with the majority of the staff in order to understand the culture of the organisation and identify the best approach and potential barriers to social impact. She set up a steering group consisting of senior staff, trustees, community leaders and evaluation experts to help review and shape the project.
Building on these initial discussions, Intentionality made several recommendations of how the organisation could improve their impact measurement and reporting.
It was apparent that having a data collection tool that would easily capture key data throughout the day would make a huge difference to Citizens UK’s Community Organisers. The app was designed to record output and outcome data, so that Citizens UK can better understand how they are distributing their time and resources as well as the change they are bringing about.
As well as helping to implement training evaluation using questionnaires, Intentionality carried out a survey with 26 of Citizens’ member institutions to engage these key stakeholders and recognise both the strengths and where the organisation could look to improve.
Intentionality then produced an impact report in partnership with the steering group. The report is written for the members of Citizens UK, and tries to communicate the impact that Citizens UK has on its members. Crucially, it draws on the available evidence to back up these claims, and aims to be transparent in reporting findings.
Intentionality recommends that Citizens UK build on our work by continuing to develop the app and the uses for the data it generates, as well as using the impact report to benchmark future work.
Intentionality have transformed the way we think about impact measurement and evaluating our performance. They have set up the infrastructure to capture relevant data about our work and have enabled us to communicate with audiences such as our membership, funders, the general public and even our own staff. Ultimately, this process has been about ensuring that beneficiaries have gained as a result of our actions and that we have been able to identify aspects that need improvement. Intentionality have been instrumental in making this aspiration a reality.
Colin Weatherup, Citizens UK
To find out more about the difference Citizens UK makes, see their Impact Report.