Military charities and welfare organisations gathered at the Portsmouth Maritime Club last week to discuss the importance of measuring impact on behalf of their beneficiaries.

The workshop, organised by The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), a major funding partner to many of those charities attending and principal charity of the Naval Service, sought to explore a number of specific techniques in which military charities, and similar organisations supporting the Royal Navy, can identify how effective their service delivery is.

Guest speakers included representatives from Seafarers UK, the You Trust and Alabaré, which supports vulnerable, homeless and marginalised armed forces veterans.

In total 38 delegates from 18 local and national organisations attended the workshop, held on 16 September.

Demand growing

Introducing the day’s session, RNRMC Chief Executive Robert Robson, explained how demand for funding from major grantmakers, such as the Portsmouth-based RNRMC, was growing “exponentially”, increasing the necessity for thorough impact evaluation.

“Money is tight; we must be more specific about the areas we fund. That’s why impact is so important,” he said.

“Impact to me is difference; change that can be measured by intervention. We need to measure the difference and us of our funds effectively. We want to be pragmatic in assessing the difference you make.”

As part of her address, Deborah Layde, from Seafarers UK, told delegates that if they “put beneficiaries at the heart of what you do, then measuring impact can be easy”.

Meanwhile, keynote speaker Nicola Youern from the You Trust, reiterated the need to measure and find gaps in funding provision, reminding the audience that charities must ultimately be accountable for how donors’ money is spent.

Exploring the issues

Delegates then took part in a series of roundtable discussions about how they measure impact, according to a number of pre-assigned case studies.

It is the second time that the RNRMC has hosted such an event, following a successful workshop in April that focused on assessing need within Naval Service communities - now, and in the future.

The full attendance of the workshop is as follows: Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare, Royal Navy, KIDS, Naval Families Federation, Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, Sailors' Children's Society, Seafarers UK, SSAFA, Not Forgotten Association, White Ensign Association, Relate Portsmouth, Alabaré, Veterans Outreach Support, Greenwich Hospital, You Trust, Royal Navy Royal Marines Children’s Fund, Royal Maritime Club, The Ripple Pond.