Monitoring and Evaluation within the social sector is not doing justice to the development that is required for marginalised groups. Each year between R7,6BN and R8,2BN is spent on a large range of CSI Programmes to offset the extensive range of injustices we face on a daily bases. Some may argue that if development was done correctly, we could end poverty, inequality and crimes against humanity. So where is the issue really?
We know that closing the loop on ‘impact’ reporting is a major problem. If you even dare to mention the word ‘impact’ in a room of (even just one) M&E enthusiast(s) there will be a shaking of heads. I fear that we value our desired indicators more than the lives of the individuals we are trying to impact. Programmes vary and to ensure transparency and effectiveness interventions have matrixes and need to be evaluated. However it is almost as if we have forgotten the very reason we have them: Why do we as South Africa invest R7.6Bn a year in CSI? Why do young people want to volunteer and employees spend weekends at their favourite local NGO? And why are those CSI managers constantly pushing for further ‘citizenship’ and volunteering integration at board meetings from their humble position in large enterprises.
In 2010 only 3,5% of NGOs filed their compliancy papers. Due to this in 2012 the Department of Social Development cut down the number of NGOs in South Africa from 85 000 to 35 000, further details here.
Where are they going wrong?
With very few innovations tackling this problem, assumptions are that the NGOs can't afford the investment in fixing some seemingly ‘obvious’ issues. We are caught up with the human issues we are faced with and spending on innovation is often frowned upon, as that extra 5%, which is industry standard for M&E, could go to helping x more marginalised individuals.
FirstRand recently hosted, with the support of CAF Southern Africa, its second “Beyond Painting Classrooms Conference” in September to discuss some of these issues. As innovators themselves FirstRand embarked on a digital solution offered in partnership with CAF Southern Africa. The Social Collective built an innovative social connections platform to monitor the conference workshops and plenary sessions and provided an ultra user friendly platform for conference participants to give feedback, manage sessions and build profiles around the outcomes of each of the sessions, just like any NGO should be monitoring its programmes.
The Social Collective offers a cloud based community engagement solution with built-in M&E capabilities, running platforms for clients like UCT. Through this partnership we are able to track and verify every hour that students volunteer to social causes on and off campus in various capacities. The platform allows NGOs to effectively monitor youth empowerment programmes by profiling individuals , tracking their skills development and asking for their feedback, providing immediate feedback for evaluations.
Desiree Storey, Manager of the FirstRand Volunteers Programme stated “Using the Social Collective engagement platform at our recent Beyond Painting Classrooms conference provided FirstRand and CAF Southern Africa with instant feedback on the quality of the facilitators, and speakers of our plenary and workshop sessions as they happened. We also received feedback on how each session fared in terms of content usefulness and enjoyment. Participants were more engaged and “in the moment”, which resulted in more open and transparent learning and sharing over the two days,”
“The potential to leverage this tool to manage, reflect on and demonstrate the value of volunteer engagement among civil society organisations is incredibly exciting,” said Karena Cronin, Business Development Manager at CAF Southern Africa.
Like an Uber ride or AirBnB visit, a simple star rating unlocks the power of the self-validated sharing economy. The Social Collective is bringing this innovation to the social sector and believes it is set to change the way we interact with NGOs, the way we look at development and how we profile and fast track excellence within the ‘3rd sector’.
The overall evaluation of the conference was immediate, with the organising team able to intercept issues and solve them in real time. The innovative matrix was presented to funding members within a week.
The Social Collective offers a cloud based Community Engagement and M&E Solution for Corporates who support NGOs, Non profits, and innovative companies with M&E specific platform requirements. They can be contacted on email@example.com