Evaluation Consult: Helping the Trust to ‘plan, monitor, change’
The Evaluation Consult team has worked in partnership with the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust since 2011, when Kate Averill, Evaluation Consult’s Executive Director, was first introduced to the Trust’s founding members.
‘It’s been a great arrangement for all of us,’ says Kate. ‘We have welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community and we’ve seen how our “plan, monitor, change” framework and approach has been helpful for the Trust.
‘Right from the start, we identified that the Trust needed to know its points of difference to the services already out there,’ says Evaluation Consult team member Sarah Andrew. ‘So we set up a workshop with people already working in the sector to help establish where the needs really were. Not only did they find out where the gaps were, the Trust also developed excellent working relationships with those organisations, many of whom are now their referrers.
‘Once they were clear about where the Trust was heading, we co-designed a draft model that outlined their goals, all the factors that would contribute to reaching those goals and the data that would be needed to know what success looked like,’ says Rowena Brown, who is currently working with the Trust on developing ongoing sustainability. ‘What is exciting for us is that the Trust has built all that data collection into its everyday operations, so it can measure progress and determine what’s going well and what’s not. This helps the Trust in its reporting to the Board and in its applications for further funding.
‘In addition, using this model means everyone can be clear about the impact of future decisions and choices – everyone is on the same page. We hope that the Trust can share it with other groups who want to set up a robust way of doing things.’ So what has Evaluation Consult got out of their pro bono work?
‘As an individual, I have really appreciated working with the Trust and people working in the emergency accommodation sector,’ says Rowena. ‘I have found it rewarding to use my professional skills and expertise for such a worthy cause.’
Kate adds, ‘It’s been a privilege to be involved with people operating at the community level and to understand the issues they are facing – this in turn helps us as collaborative partners to keep our advice real and practical to implement. Plus, we all enjoy the amazing energy and enthusiasm that the Trust members and the staff have for helping women who find themselves homeless. It’s hugely inspiring.’