The Challenge 

RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) is the national charity supporting the 12 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. They work to end the discrimination faced by their communities, help people hear better now and fund world-class research to restore hearing and silence tinnitus. 

In 2020, RNID undertook a major transformation project—completely reimagining the structure of the organization and moving from delivering social care services, working for social change. As the organisation settled into its new branding and financial model, it required a partner to build theories of change (TOCs) for four new programme areas, as well as a clear and consistent approach to impact measurement to use across the organisation. This was a significant project for RNID, that needed to provide strong foundations for the organisation’s new direction.  

The approach 

RNID had already identified four areas where the newly refocused organisation could make the most impact: inclusion, health, employment and research. NPC constructed a clear roadmap for developing the four theories of change, consisting of two plenary workshops and a further two workshops for each programme, which followed our theory of change in 10 steps guidance. Individuals from across the organisation and programmes participated to provide a range of perspectives, and we ensured our workshops were inclusive and flexible to meet the needs of people who are deaf, have a hearing loss or use British Sign Language. The TOC outputs were largely driven by RNID, with NPC providing structure, support, and feedback to facilitate. Once the TOCs were established, we embarked on building out a measurement framework for each programme, using our five types of data framework. In close consultation with the RNID team, we discussed and developed guidance as to how RNID could become a truly evidence-led charity. 

The results 

The in-depth and robust process to develop the TOCs with RNID led to a defined strategy for each programme and greater clarity on the goals it was aiming to achieve. This rigor has ensured that the TOC work was—and continues to be—the basis for decision-making and planning across teams. It gives a solid foundation and clarity to RNID’s external communications, allowing them to clearly articulate to a wide range of stakeholders what they are trying to achieve and why. In addition, the measurement framework has provided a guiding star to RNID in terms of data collection. In summary, the TOCs and measurement framework have provided a strong foundation for RNID to take the leap from internally-focused restructure and planning, to real world delivery of well-evidenced, targeted, life-changing activity across its four programmes of work.   

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