Regular evaluation makes a winner on charity governance

By Alex Miller 10 January 2020 4 minute read

There is under a week left to enter the Charity Governance Awards 2020. The awards offer the perfect opportunity for charities, both big and small, to reward their hardworking trustees and to give their excellent charity the recognition it deserves. Whatever the size of your organisation, the importance of celebrating your great governance cannot be overstated.

In 2019, YMCA North Tyneside won the Improving Impact (26+ paid staff) category at the Charity Governance Awards. This larger charity, which supports disadvantaged young people, particularly those who have experienced homelessness, was rewarded for its efforts to improve the evaluation of its programmes.

The awards and big charities

The YMCA turned 175 years old in 2019, with YMCA North Tyneside being established in 1879. Each year, YMCA North Tyneside works with around 600 disadvantaged young people through its community programmes. It provides important interventions, working with young people in a number of support areas, including advice and guidance, training and education, arts and music, sports and leisure, and outdoors education.

The judges at the 2019 Charity Governance Awards were impressed by this larger charity’s willingness to improve their measurement and evaluation. At the forefront of this willingness was the attitude of YMCA North Tyneside’s trustees to shape new objectives, to support the introduction of a new customer relationship management system (CRM), and to implement a refreshed assessment process. The board of this larger charity showed a healthy appetite for increased risk (another award category which is accepting entries for 2020) by recognising the charity’s weaknesses before they became failures.

A more sophisticated CRM allows YMCA North Tyneside to target and tailor its interventions for different service users. The new systems also enable improved longer-term monitoring of how service users are getting on and allows for greater real-time impact assessment. All of this evaluation contributes to better learning and improvement at YMCA North Tyneside, allowing them to continuously monitor and improve their impact. For example, over the course of 2019, staff were able to increase caseloads and better support transitions from homelessness into stable accommodation.

Winning the award

Each charity that wins their category receives a £5,000 grant to spend however they wish. YMCA North Tyneside chose to invest their prize money in their vital CRM system. They were delighted to win last year and commented on how unique it is to be able to enter a competition which recognises the efforts of the board. It can be rare for trustees to be celebrated for their role in an organisation but the work that YMCA North Tyneside’s board put into their strategic plan, which put an emphasis on impact and establishing a more sophisticated CRM, deserved recognition.

Winning a Charity Governance Award in 2019 re-energised the board and fully embedded the idea of impact evaluation within the organisation. This led to the trustees overseeing the introduction of ‘impact dashboards’ on their CRM, for all of the charity’s themes of work. Plus, YMCA North Tyneside has also developed key impact indicators for their organisation, which have been elevated to the same level of importance as the organisation’s key performance indicators.

We are delighted to say that entries for the 2020 awards are still open. But you do not have long left, entries need to be submitted by Wednesday 22 January. Whatever the size of your organisation, enter here.

Each charity that wins their category receives a £5,000 grant to spend however they wish. @YMCANTyneside chose to invest their prize money in their vital CRM system. There's one week left to enter @charitygovaward 2020. Via @NPCthinks blog Click To Tweet