Giving Compass' Take:

• Battle UK shares how it used data-driven approaches to evaluate programs, which helped to determine success. 

• How can donors identify organizations that are making data-driven decisions? 

• Learn about the challenges of data collection in philanthropy.

At Buttle UK we’ve been using data to drive our strategic direction since 2003. That was the year we received funding from BBC Children in Need to provide emergency essentials (up to £300 of household items) for children and young people in crisis, a program we ran for 15 years.

As the years went on and the value of the funding increased, we found ourselves supporting and collecting data on a large number of young people across the UK. We realised we were in the position to use this data to drive our understanding of the difference we want to make and how we should go about this.

The next milestone in our data journey was 2013; the year of our first funded programme with a requirement to conduct an evaluation to assess the efficacy of this project. This Barclays-funded ‘Access to the Future’ programme drew on existing support we had provided, developing into a programme that provided individually tailored grants of up to £3000 to young people in further education.

Findings from the evaluation highlighted the importance of providing individually targeted support of a greater value than small grants or single items, and drove the development of future projects, ‘Connect and Support‘ and the ‘Anchor Project‘, which ran between 2014 and 2017.

The success and insight provided by the ‘Access to the Future’ evaluation demonstrated the importance of impact assessment within the organisation, which resulted in Buttle UK employing a full time monitoring and evaluation staff member in 2014. This has since developed into the role of Impact and Evaluation Manager, the position that I have held since May 2019, following my predecessor, NPC’s current Data Lead, Rosario Piazza.

Read the full article about data-driven impact by Amelia Smith at NPC.