SIMNA’s first event of the year hosted YMCA Victoria’s Paul Turner. Paul spoke about his journey towards outcomes measurement, stressing that one of the hardest steps is the very first.
Paul’s presentation raised 3 key points.
1 – Technology as a “Game Changer”
Using Socialsuite’s technology platform enabled program delivery staff to easily collect data on iPads or via email, removing paper data collection entirely from the process. Technology also provided a central hub for data collection, management, and reporting.
Paul recalled an earlier attempt at outcomes measurement that did not use a technology platform to manage data. Program leaders simply refused to individually manage multiple excel sheets on top of their already high workload. As Paul mentioned, Socialsuite can be a real “game changer” when measuring outcomes.
2 – Process is Important
Paul notes that the process of implementing outcomes measurement was equally as important as reporting. His team found that learning about program logic and having to create an outcomes framework focused the team on what their services were actually trying to accomplish.
The team realised that some of their program’s intended goals were simply unsustainable. As such, creating an outcomes framework enabled the YMCA to improve their programs.
3 – Effectiveness of Outcomes Reporting
Paul also spoke about the effectiveness of outcomes reporting. He recalled that the YMCA lost government funding for a youth justice program in 2012. Using outcomes measurement and reporting the team was able to demonstrate their program’s value and re-gained funding in full. This incident turned out to be the catalyst for the YMCA to begin pursuing outcomes measurement across multiple programs.
A discussion period was held after Paul’s presentation, which highlighted the internal pressure amongst organisations either for or against outcomes measurement, the differences between implementing outcomes measurement between a top-down or bottom-up approach, and the importance of taking that first step towards outcomes measurement.
Socialsuite would like to thank SIMNA for the illuminating event.