Measuring factors such as educational attainment or jobs created is relatively straightforward, but measuring how an intervention has changed the 'softer' concepts of self-esteem, satisfaction and resilience is more complex. Such outcomes are, however, often the first steps towards more tangible life changes.
New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), a consultancy and think tank dedicated to helping funders and charities achieve greater impact, has created a new tool to measure the wellbeing of children and young people. PHF has funded the marketing and roll-out of this online resource that will benefit not only hundreds of charities but also the grant-giving organisations that support them.
"Measuring wellbeing has been around for decades but it's been researched by academic experts and languished in dusty journals," says John Copps, NPC's head of sector research. "We've built on what's already been done and made it practical for everyone to use."
NPC's measure is specifically aimed at analysing the effectiveness of interventions directed at 11-16 year olds. Results from the 15-minute, adaptable survey are automatically collated into a downloadable report. No statistical skills are required. The survey can be used as a one-off wellbeing measure, a 'before and after' analysis, or an ongoing guide to the long-term effectiveness of a project.
"We're through the development stage now, and have tested the measure on more than 2,000 young people," says John. "We've reviewed and amended the survey and now have a product that we know works."
Following a 'soft launch' with a small number of charities, users will be able to visit the site (well-beingmeasure.com), buy credits and start a survey immediately. One credit will pay for one survey of up to 200 participants that can be assessed against a national baseline, although two credits are necessary to undertake a comparative test to investigate a change in wellbeing.
In time, the wellbeing measure should be financially self-sufficient, and the data collected will have a wider benefit. "We will anonymously collect data to give us a massive sample of wellbeing across the UK," says John. "It will help us all make links on a national level between wellbeing and hard outcomes."