Measuring Effectiveness of NFP Education & Training
7 December 2012 at 10:05 am
A major piece of Australian research is hoping to show that money invested in training and developing leaders of community organisations will result in better support for those in need.
The first stage of the research has shown a marked improvement in performance where people skill themselves up.
The consortium behind the research, the Australian Scholarships Foundation (ASF), the Origin Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) at the University of New South Wales are scaling up the project to measure the Social Return from Education and Training on NFP sector effectiveness (SRET).
“There is growing recognition that both the scale and quality of NFP leadership and management will have to increase significantly if it is to achieve its full potential and maximise its contribution to Australian society,” Amy Lyden, CEO of ASF said.
Lyden says the three SRET partners collaborated over the past year to develop a robust framework to measure impact.
“Providing evidence of the value of education and training on program effectiveness will encourage NFPs to increase their own investment in education and training,” CSI’s head of research who led the team developing the SRET methodology, Les Hems said.
“SRET will also encourage governments and other funders of NFPs to support initiatives that build the capacity of NFPs.”
The first stage of the SRET found that individuals receiving training recorded significantly higher scores on lead indicators relating to competencies. It was also evident that the use of acquired skills and competencies improved decision-making, increase productivity and facilitated career enhancement.
The partners are now launching Stage 2 of the project, a three-year, $300,000, longitudinal study funded by the Origin Foundation designed to track a large group of NFP directors and senior staff.
Sean Barrett, Head of Origin Foundation, said: “The sector is reluctant to spend money on itself. It is the nature of people who work in the not-for- profit sector to focus all resources on the people they are trying to help. But this is short sighted. The Productivity Commission showed in 2010 that investing in training and development would improve social impact. Based on that the Origin Foundation is investing half a million dollars in training and development through scholarships for people in the sector.
“We now want to go a step further and help the sector help themselves by funding this research which will provide the case for leaders to invest in training. We also hope it will encourage other foundations to fund capacity building in the form of training and development. If that happens this research will be a game changer.”
“SRET is a web based measurement system that initially will measure all the education and training activities supported and delivered by ASF and CSI. In time it will cover a wide range of other universities and independent training providers supporting NFPs.”
A key element of SRET is the use of lead indicators to capture the achievement of education/training goals and track the use of acquired skills and competencies. The system systemically captures the existing competency, training goals and aspirations of NFP individuals prior to training, progress towards goals during training for longer courses, the achievement of goals and aspirations on completion of training and the application of acquired skills and competencies at six monthly intervals.