Over the last five years CEO Birtug Kazim has seen a dramatic shift in awareness of Crawley Town Community Foundation and how it is perceived in the local area. There have been many contributing factors to that shift – ranging from the need for innovation and collaboration by an embattled public sector, to the growing role that sport is playing in building stronger communities and supporting individuals in need.
However the Foundation’s Chief Executive says nothing has helped to crystallise thinking like the succinct impact reporting produced in collaboration with 4Global’s DataHub, which has enabled his organisation to articulate its social value clearly in terms that local partners – from health to criminal justice, to education and employment – want to hear.
Birtug explains: “When we first started knocking on doors we were accepted because we are part of the football club. That was pretty much the entry point into some of these meetings – but we never had any significant data that we could provide.
“There were times that you approached the health sector or you approached the police, for example, but no matter how enthusiastic you were about the impact that you were seeing on a daily basis, there was nothing valid or scientific there; there was nothing that you can actually sit down and show a significant change from X to Y.
“But now, thanks to DataHub, you know with assurance that you can visit your health practitioner and be able to present to them with data and information that has a valid grounding. We’ve made a good start with 4Global in measuring the impact of the work we do, and to able to present that to funders and include it in reports once you’ve delivered the work is great for us.
“Slowly, over the five years we’ve noticed how the Council and the public sector have begun coming to us and asking us for solutions to problems, and that’s principally because we’ve been able to demonstrate to them what we can do. We have the data as evidence to show that we can make a difference, that we can make a real impact.”
It's no wonder the Foundation has become increasingly important to the town. From engaging young people through National Citizen Service and Premier League Kicks, to improving literacy through Primary Stars and reducing loneliness and isolation in over 55s through ‘Extra Time Hubs’. Breakfast clubs, after-school sessions, improving mental health through ‘Move the Goalposts’ supported by the EFL Trust and Mind; walking football, cookery classes, Pilates, working with the local homeless shelter – the list goes on.
It’s from this vast range of projects and activities that DataHub draws common themes and outputs, and calculates the economic value of the work of the Foundation. It demonstrates the total social value generated, and breaks that down into improved health, subjective wellbeing, increased educational attainment and reduced crime.
Birtug adds: “Being able to showcase the impact that club charities are making in their communities is vital. A lot of them are doing such good work but often it goes unnoticed, or it is only noticed on a very local scale through the people that are involved with it, and their friends or family. It’s very rare that you have the opportunity to showcase it further afield.
“So now it’s brilliant that you can actually give a value to it because no matter how much impact we show or how much information we give out, as there are certain sectors that still identify a cash value to the work that we do and 4Global is able to give us that.
“It puts us at the forefront when questions are being asked in the community. We can come up with the solution because of the impact that we’re being able to demonstrate, which is amazing.”
Birtug says working with DataHub has also enabled his staff to really buy into the importance of monitoring and evaluating their work, and incentivised them to improve the Foundation’s efficiency and effectiveness. Ultimately each staff member is now much more aware of their impact of their work, thus supporting their own career development and helps support job satisfaction.
“Staff really see the impact and the importance of inputting the data and what they’re actually getting out of it, so in terms of boosting the morale and motivation of staff, it’s been fantastic. It’s allowed them to gain an understanding of the work we do, and its impact.
“How do you measure progress if you don’t have this kind of information? You can say ‘we’ve got 10 participants that attended a session’ – but what actual difference and what impact are we making on those individuals that are attending? With this information, it allows staff to see individual changes but also collective changes that we’re making in the communities.”
Similarly, staying close to the data has allowed the Foundation to focus on quality over quantity.
Birtug explains: “There’s been a reduction in the number of sessions that we’re delivering and a slight reduction in the number of participants that we’re seeing – however we’re now spending more time with those participants so it means that our contact time with individuals and with groups has increased significantly
“That was one of the biggest things that we wanted to draw attention to last season compared to this season so that’s been a big boost for us and it’s been really pleasing to see that change.”
The Social Value Calculator is a module within the DataHub developed with sector-recognised leading partners, to ensure robustness and credibility of results. These include:
Sheffield Hallam University: The leading academic institution in the UK for measuring the social value of sport. With support from DCMS and Sport England, it recently developed a national model for measuring the Social Return on Investment of sports participation in England. The methodology for measuring the social value component of the national model has been adapted for this DataHub module.
Experian: The largest socio-economic and credit data provider in the UK. Through its Mosaic database, Experian has a detailed understanding at an individual and household level of lifestyle and life stages, and therefore someone’s risk profile across a range of social indicators.
4Global: On behalf of a sector representative DataHub Steering Group, which includes the main NGBs (national governing bodies), operators, leisure management systems and agencies such as ukactive and Active Partnerships, 4Global developed the Social Value Calculator.
The tool enables delivery organisations, Active Partnerships, local authorities, leisure operators and commissioners to:
- Understand the value delivered across contracts and programmes
- Generate a robust, credible and consistent evidence base to underpin funding and monitor and report against targeted interventions, which is created and maintained by leading independent academics using peer-reviewed formulae.
- Geographically profile where greater impact can be generated around your local community.
- Know what good looks like!