We caught up with Laura Shepherd, our head of impact, to find out why monitoring the impact of our services is so important and why we count on your feedback.
What do the impact team do?
As volunteers, you know first-hand the tremendous impact you have on the older people you support. Our role is to find out how their lives have changed as a result of attending tea parties, having a call companion or joining one of our activity groups. We do this by speaking both to you, and to our older people.
This helps us understand how and why we are making a difference and ensure lessons learned lead to improvements in existing and future services.
What information do we collect?
We collect information to tell us how our services are doing. This includes the number of calls made by our call companions or the number of tea parties held in a month. We also ask our older people questions to help us understand how our services have reduced their feelings of loneliness and improved their well-being.
How do we collect this information?
One of the most important ways we do this is through you, our volunteers. At the end of each month we ask our call companions and our tea party coordinators to complete a short monthly report. We also hear volunteer views through surveys and interviews at different points in the year.
We also conduct interviews with older people and regularly consult with our older people advisory group.
What is the monthly report?
Every month, we email our tea party coordinators and call companions, asking you to complete a quick and easy online report letting us know how your group/calls are going. This keeps us regularly updated and helps us to support you when you need it.
What do we do with the information we collect?
We resolve issues raised through the monthly reports, such as replacing volunteers for a tea party group.
We share our impact through our communications with volunteers, older people, organisations and the general public. This builds awareness of our work and increases the amount of applications we receive.
We make improvements to our services, ensuring volunteers are supported and able to maximise the benefits for older people.
We report impact to our funders, partners, trustees and the charity commission.
We include impact information in applications for future funding so that we can reach more people.
Why is it important to monitor and evaluate our impact?
It helps us to know the impact we are having and that we are reaching the most in need. It helps us know that what we do is working and better understand how a particular service or activity works. Ultimately it helps us achieve our mission of reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people.
How can you help?
If you are a tea party coordinator or a call companion, the most important thing you can do is complete your online monthly report, it only takes a few minutes of your time. The latest report was emailed to you on 1st November, so please check your email.
For all volunteers, we please ask that you complete our impact surveys, which are usually sent to your via Re-engage Matters.
Thank you to all those volunteers who regularly complete their monthly reports and respond to our surveys. Your feedback is an essential part of understanding the impact of our services, helping us to make improvements and reduce loneliness for thousands of older people.
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The Re-engage advisory group
As we all know, it is crucial for us at Re-engage to ensure that we put older people at the centre of what we are doing. So earlier this year, we created an advisory group of older people who use one of our services.
By Georgina Turner