February 17th, 2020 / Insight posted in Articles

Dunhill Medical Trust teams up with Moore Kingston Smith to help their award-holders communicate their impact

Towards the end of 2018, Dunhill Medical Trust (DMT) commissioned Moore Kingston Smith to run an impact study with five of their award-holders. DMT provides support to community-based organisations that are working to enhance the lives of those who need extra support in later life as well as funding academic and clinical research into understanding the mechanisms of ageing and treating age-related disease and frailty. Historically, understanding the difference their grants create and measuring their impact has been a challenge, and something they were eager to address.

The project set out to address two broad questions; firstly, could a focused enquiry at a detailed level identify outcomes that were common to the different programmes? Secondly, could a specially designed impact calculation model equip the award-holding organisations with the tools and knowledge to be able to evaluate (and communicate) their own impact in the future?

Five of DMT’s award-holders who were working with older people through creative arts-based interventions were invited to take part in this project: Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Independent Arts, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Paintings in Hospitals and Helix Arts.

The project unfolded over a 12-month period with multiple meetings, focus groups and trips up and down the country. Using a common outcomes approach presented some challenges: why should there be uniformity in the changes that the different programmes, albeit with the commonality that all were in the area of creative arts would bring about? The key was to gain the perspective of the participants themselves and in some cases their carers – not just those running the programmes.  This proved to be the richest and most compelling source of outcomes data.

Across the five programmes, 37 outcomes were identified that are being experienced by patients, relatives and even the staff of the organisations. Some of the most significant outcomes for stakeholders (beneficiaries) include reduced social isolation, improved confidence, improved mental health, improved physical health and comfort and improved relationships with loved ones. The evidence showed that these organisations are creating significant change for multiple communities across the country.

“We are always eager to learn about the practical impact that the programmes we fund have on the lives of individuals, their families and communities. But as a funder, we are particularly keen to support the creation of shared knowledge and capacity in the organisations who are delivering these services and interventions to ensure they can sustain themselves for the long term.”  Susan Kay, Dunhill Medical Trust.

With the material outcomes revealed, the next stage was to run a series of training sessions on the methodology for collecting the data and using the toolkit. Moore Kingston Smith worked with the award-holders together as a cohort and then individually, visiting each organisation and working through the impact framework which had been developed. Each received a bespoke calculation model and a tailor-made guide that would assist them in taking their impact management process forward.

All five organisations have reported that they each benefitted hugely from being a part of the training. They have been left with a sound understanding of the change they are enabling through their activities, as well as the tools and knowledge that will allow them to measure and demonstrate their impact effectively. The adaptable and robust nature of the model means that it can be used across an entire organisation and empowers such organisations to speak with confidence about their social value. Some have already started engaging in conversations with partner organisations using the outcomes that this project revealed and feel that this may give them an advantage when making grant applications, setting them apart from others that perhaps cannot demonstrate and articulate their impact as powerfully.

 “With grants becoming more and more competitive, we will certainly use this evidence in applications and it will hopefully give us the edge over others.” – Hannah Griffiths, Independent Arts

This process has helped change the way that the organisations think and speak about their impact and some admitted that historically they have been too caught up in the numbers and statistics.

“This has moved us beyond data capture – from pure numbers to thinking about what impact really means.” – Ben Pearce, Paintings in Hospitals

Importantly, the project helped the charities involved to appreciate the importance of putting the lived experience of stakeholders at the centre of their impact measurement, one of the central principles of good impact reporting.

“The part that I really like is that the model is co-produced with the participants who have lived the experiences. They are at the heart of the impact analysis.” – Helix Arts

Moore Kingston Smith would like to extend thanks to DMT for commissioning them to run this project and particularly to the five participant organisations for their enthusiastic engagement. It was rewarding in many ways and clear from the feedback sessions just how much the organisations gained.

Each organisation has spoken of the benefits of the project and expressed their gratitude to DMT for funding something that will enable them to sustain and grow their activities in 2020 and beyond.

The MKSFM impact team follows a thorough process and a specialised methodology when analysing and calculating impact. They are a highly experienced team who are dedicated to helping their clients understand and demonstrate their social value.

To find out how MKSFM can help you measure and manage your impact, contact us for a free two-hour consultation at impact@mooreks.co.uk.