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Proving and improving the impact of SVW activities in 2016

Posted on 6 Dec 2015

One of the most exciting parts of running any event or activity is seeing the result of it, whether that’s a room full of people meeting each other, hundreds of pounds raised for an important cause, or increased interest in your department or organisation…

But once the event or activity is over, it is not always easy to measure or communicate its short-term and long-term benefits. And yet that process of monitoring and evaluating the impact of activities is the only way to PROVE their value and IMPROVE them for the future.

Luckily, there are some tried and tested techniques that you can use to monitor and evaluate your activities before, during and after Student Volunteering Week 2016, and we’ve put together this blog post to make this stress-free and effective for you.

The data that we all gather will not only help all of us to prove the value of SVW on our campuses and improve activities for next year, but it will also help us to paint a picture of the impact of Student Volunteering Week nationally, ensuring that we can continue the campaign for many years to come!

Students at our York Bootcamp planning SVW 2016 activities

We first introduced the importance of impact measurement in our webinar on 4 December. You can still watch the webinar video and download the slides.

What is impact measurement? Why is it important?

“The process by which you measure what effect your project, programme or initiative has had, or is having, on an individual, community or the environment.”

Measuring your impact allows you to prove the benefits of your activities because you can…

  • Be accountable
  • Provide evidence of value for money
  • Communicate the programme’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Lay foundation for greater impact

Measuring your impact allows you to improve your activities because you can…

  • Better understand the current impact
  • Make comparisons
  • Identify areas to improve or develop
  • See and understand unintended impact
  • Make effective decisions about the future

Official guidance for SVW 2016

Volunteering and social action are great for the individual AND the communities that they work with, so our national outcomes are linked to that 'double benefit'. Our impact measurement methods enable us to track the extent to which the following statements are true…

  • students see social action as core to their student experience
  • students feel supported by their institution to engage
  • volunteering centres feel supported by their institution
  • students are inspired to make a positive difference in their community
  • SVW raises the profile of individual volunteers and volunteering opportunities
  • collaboration within and between institutions increases during and beyond the week itself

Volunteers from the University of Essex during SVW 2015

Be part of our national impact measurement

  • Register for SVW now - this will ensure that your participation is recognised.
  • Submit event plans before the week via our What's On page (coming soon!) - this helps us to track event numbers, projected attendee numbers and different categories of events.
  • Measure key metrics during & after the week - set up a spreadsheet or other system to track your number of events, number of event attendees, number of partners involved, press mentions, increases in sign-ups/involvement in your activities beyond the week and any other outputs.
  • Share your photos with us via email.
  • Share our national online feedback form (coming soon!) with students who participate in SVW - we’ll be able to share all the data from students at your college or university with you too!
  • If you’re organising SVW activities, respond to our host survey after the week (sent via email during SVW) so we can improve our support for hosts in future years!

The SVW Team

The national SVW team from Student Hubs & NUS coordinate SVW activities for the nationwide campaign, 22-28 Feb 2016

Categories: Advice