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Dec 9, 2019

Step 3: Realistic Goals

Brainstoming a new toolkit
Brainstoming a new toolkit

When at the begining of the year we envisioned what the Impact Platform could do, we were hoping that it would give to grassroots organisations the tools to showcase their work and impact and make their fundraising efforts easier.

We've worked so far with 4 organisations of various sizes and focus to test the platform. And we have presented it to larger organisations who would be able to take it over and scale it to serve many more than 10 organisations.

The feedback quickly made it apparent that while our tool was super effective and useful, it was a large step to take for a small organisation. Instead of building autonomy, we were making them reliant on us walking them through every step of the process.

Our goal was to make a tool that would be less hassle so they can focus all their attention on helping those that need them: the refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers that are underserved by the government and larger organisations. 

From the start we've been an organisation that prides itself on being responsive to feedback and giving grassroots organisations what they need to go ahead without us. 

Clearly, this program was not delivering on our values. 

 

Time to redesign

The difficulty for organisations to get onboarded easily on the platform starts from the data that we ask for: financial data from past years, estimates on their in-kind donations, number of individuals served...

The outcome is a beautifully curated dashboard but some of the teams are struggling to get to this result because the data needed is too much.

So, instead of asking for the information, we've decided to give them the tools to gather it. 

Based on our previous tools & workshops we've ran, a toolkit has been designed that gives the basics to any team to:

  • Keep track of their monthly finances
  • Measure their hours of service
  • Keep track of their volunteers.

These will be made available on our website and circulated through partner organisations and in the social media groups relevant to grassroots teams in early 2020.

That means that not just 10 organisations, but as many as possible will be able to use them. Simpler solutions mean bigger impact.  

Sep 9, 2019

Step 2: Adapting to Change

With spiking arrivals in Greek islands and a new government in place, grassroots aid projects for refugees are under pressure to provide support to a growing number of people and proove their worth as humanitarian agents.

The Impact Platform is a tool to track efficiency internally to showcase the work of an organisation to external partners.

 

Campfire Innovation's Impact Platform 

We continued with our work on the Impact Platform in the last few months with some interesting new developments...

In humanitarian aid and the non-profit sector, your best-laid plans are always likely to be changed. This is what happened to us: we set out to onboard 10 organisations to our platform for impact metrics. In our last update, we reported on the 2 organisations we had onboarded. 

The feedback we got was the the process to very useful for organisations to review their impact reports and data, especially for those that do not have regular reporting. However, it became apparent that few organisations had the capacity and readiness to go through this process. 

How do you address that?

1. Breaking Down the Process

Our tool is composed of two elements: a qualitative and a quantitative assessment.

As part of the onboarding, the quantitative assessment requires an organisation to collect all their historical financial, recruitment and operations data and submiting them to us. We then took on the task of inputing all that information into the database and issuing the dashboard for each organisation.

This was a difficult process that was not accessible to all organisations as it required time to concentrate all data and documents or re-doing some of their records. 

The qualitative assesment did not require any preparation. It only needed to be filled in by the main decision-maker in the organisaiton. The multiple choice question results in a "smart aid score" that shows how mindful the organisation has been in creating efficient processes to ensure dignified conditions. More effective processes mean better trained teams, on-time services, better conditions and more. 

Capacity building has to be tailored to the need of different organisations. So, we made the decision to break down the process. By making only the qualitative assesment available, we have widened the pool of organisations that can be assessed and trained. 

 

2. Building Partnerships

This year, we are reducing our activities and proceeding to operate on a volunteer basis only. Therefore, we had to make sure that those benefiting from our Impact Platform program were not affected by this.

We've ensured the operations of the platform through donations until March 2020. 

Beyond that, we also wanted to make sure that other organisations were able to be fully onboarded (qualitative & quantitative assessment) by expert consultants.

Therefore, we have connected with 2 potential partners to take over the platform and continue onboarding grassroots organisations. This led to a review of our internal training documents to be able to train the trainers. 

 

The need for small organisations to be able to communicate their work is more pressing than ever!

We are proud to have built a tool that can provide that.

 

The Campfire Innovation Team

Links:

Jun 10, 2019

First Steps: 2 Organisations On Board

Our journey to create an esy-to-use online tool for citizen initiatives to report their performance and impact started almost a year ago! A team of dedicated volunteers worked with small organisations and did extensive research into what funders want to understand what such a tool would do.

Then our first dedicated Impact Platform volunteer, Valentina, worked with a developer to make it a reality!

When Francesca joined the team a few months ago, the main goal became to create a process to introduce potential user organisations to the tool and train our whole team alongside. This includes meticulous documentation that also allowed anyone joining the Impact Platform team afterwards to be able to continue the work.

 

Onboarding the first  2 organisations

We are currently working with two organisations to test the platform. They are both citizen initiatives working with the asylum-seeking, migrant and refugee population in Athens and are addressing important challenges that come with living as an asylum-seeker, refugee or migrant in a European city. They are going beyond the initial emergency aid into the issues that affect integration and inclusion. 

Hestia Hellas

Hestia Hellas provides mental health services in Athens, especially to families. They have a diverse range of services, from 1-on-1 counselling services to employability trainings and a child-friendly space. Their goal is to heal the trauma that comes from displacement and the limbo state cause by asylum procedures.  

 Hestia Hellas was the first organisation to start using the platform. We assisted them with the process of gathering all information about their work and impact so far and coached them on how the platform works.

Find out more about Hestia Hellas here: www.hestiahellas.org

Velos Youth

An rganisation supporting specifically young single men living in precarious conditions and homelessness in Athens from 16 to 21. They are one of the most vulnerable population as very few services are designed with them in mind and they can easily fall pray to criminalisation and prostitution. 

 The team is currently is working with our Impact Platform team to gather and organise all their data from the past 2-3 years of operations and start using their dashboard.

Find out more about their work here: velosyouth.org 

Where are we now?

Lessons learned so far

  • It takes the right partners: The platform is the most useful to citizen organisations who have been considering building a reporting process but do not have the expertise or capacity within the team. Organisations that have not began keeping track of any metrics or that already have an elaborate system are less likely to have the capacity to use it or will find it too time-consuming to make the switch. 
  • It takes skill: For the onboarding process, we need a specific profile for our team members. People with previous consulting experience or an IT background are ideal. It takes time to find them but when we do, they are just as excited about the Platform as we are!
  • It takes time: To reflect on 2-3 years of operations for a small organisation and gather data spread across different systems and people take time, and we need to be ready whenever they complete that to immediately take them on the next step. 

Our team is evolving

 To simplify the work for our team, we've split the Impact Platform role into two parts:

  • Outreach & Training: Meeting with organisations, presenting the platform and assisting them in the process of collecting all their data. This role is currently filled by our new team member Eunice, who ensure the organisation is properly introduce to how the platform works and ready to use it autonomously. 
  • User Support: Once an organisation is using the platform, it's important to make sure they continue submiting their monthly updates and that all is working well for them. Florence, our Field Volunteer, maintains that relationship with them.

Looking at the next organisation

Our next goal is to identify the next organisation that would like to receive the training and start using the platform. We hope to start publishing reports on the aggregated impact citizen organisations are having based on the numbers and data they are collecting on the platform!

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