The Mind is a charity and a network of around 130 local Minds in England and Wales. Investing for Good has been working with Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind (MSM), which relies on over 100 paid staff members and 100 volunteers to support over 6000 people each year improving their mental health and wellbeing.
Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind delivers an impressive variety of projects to support the community, such as Ageing Better (for people 50+ feeling lonely), Peer support training (with people using their own experiences of mental health problems to help others), Open Minds therapies, Active Minds (that help people with mental health difficulties recover through sport), etc.
Such as many charities in the UK, MSM faces the challenge of having to report for each project to a different commissioner, each one having specific reporting requirements. MSM staff spend a lot of time collecting data for reporting purposes, but did not have a framework allowing them to learn from this data internally, and to take the right decisions. Moreover, MSM's management had difficulties communicating on their impact at an organisational level, due to a lack of relevant and consistent data across projects.
MSM's CEO and management have been very proactive in recent years in constantly trying to improve their impact measurement practices. MSM already had developed a Theory of Change and use a case management software, but MSM welcomed external support and expertise to reach best pratice in impact management.
Supporting MSM in their journey from impact measurement to impact management
This project was delivered in 2018 in the context of the Impact Management Programme, funded by the Access Foundation and Power to Change, aiming at building the capacity of charities and social enterprises to manage their impact.
Given the diversity of projects and data collection practices, we started from the analysis of 4 projects, in order to design a framework that could work both at project-level and at organisational-level. We listened to project managers about their activities, expected impact, challenges, existing data collection practices. To better grasp The Mind's impact, we organised Focus Group discussions with beneficiaries from the 4 projects.
This work allowed us to support MSM in the following:
- Formalising the impact strategy at a project level, by defining the outcomes (What changes do you want to make? When people leave the programme, where would you like them to be? What about 6 months after people have left the programme?);
- Identifying the conditions for success for each programme ;
- Analysing the way the programme has been designed and give recommendations to ensure that impact is sustained on the long term ;
- Designing a framework to measure progress towards each outcome, including defining the indicators, the assessment method, the data collection processes and the questionnaires ;
- Training the team in impact management and ensuring they feel comfortable with the new data collection tools ;
- Giving recommendations on how to move towards a digital data collection and analysis.
Although MSM is part of a nation-wide framework, local Minds have autonomy on the way they measure and report on their impact. The Research Team at national Mind is now working on developing some tools that would help local Minds in this process. Investing for Good has shared insights with national Mind, and we hope that this work will help other local Minds!