Projects

Evaluating the Impact of Islington Giving, Cripplegate Foundation

Background

Islington Giving is a campaign of local and national philanthropic organisations that work together to tackle the most pressing local issues facing the poorest residents in Islington. The campaign formally launched in 2010 after a preparatory period where it identified the key areas of focus, core activities, structure and constitution. It is working to meet ambitious targets relating to fundraising, volunteering and grant-giving over a five year timescale.

This evaluation occurred just after the mid point of the campaign’s delivery and was designed with the following aims:

  • To understand the emerging impact of Islington Giving on the borough;
  • To explore the extent to which these impacts fit with campaign overriding objectives; and
  • To make recommendations for future activity.

What we did

Our first exercise was to identify Islington Giving’s key objectives during an initial scoping period. Through this process we identified three hypotheses to explore through the evaluation. These are that Islington Giving is:

  • Delivering an added value for Islington through the way it operates as a multi-funder campaign;
  • Encouraging local residents, businesses and other stakeholders to give money and time; and
  • Improving the quality of life of Islington’s poorest residents by investing in young people, tackling poverty and confronting isolation

These objectives formed the basis of the evaluation framework and helped us identify who we wanted to speak to and the questions we wanted to ask. The methodology was purely qualitative: we asked participants to describe the ways in which they have engaged with Islington Giving, the added value offered through this engagement and the impact this has had upon themselves and their wider community.

We spoke with 46 people including board members, strategic stakeholders, volunteers and donors, grant recipient staff members and grant recipient beneficiaries themselves – the people that attend Islington Giving-funded projects.

Impact

Islington Giving achieved a great deal in the eighteen months between its launch and this evaluation. It has managed to simultaneously bring together a range of local funders to work together as strategic partners, whilst also delivering effective activity to tackle the specific local need facing some of Islington’s poorest residents.

This innovative approach attracted attention from funders and councils from other areas who are keep achieving similar goals. OPM worked with Islington Giving to identify ‘top tips’ for those looking to replicate a place-based multi-funder model. In summary these are:

  • Know your local area and what you want to achieve Legitimise the vision and detailed plans through an evidenced understanding of the most pressing issues.  Ensure your priorities are clearly defined, realistic and measurable;
  • Find a host. A leader with the vision, local knowledge and respect to coordinate activity in the early days is hugely important to catalyse and maintain initial enthusiasm;
  • Build the partnership and take time to get it right. Establish a profile that has different areas of local knowledge- a one-stop-shop for brokering support for local needs. Give yourself at least a year to set up the campaign, ensuring that all partners are fully committed to the campaign priorities; and
  • Build support through early wins. ‘Quick wins’ boost a culture of success and the means by which it is possible to raise the profile of the campaign.