Spirit has awarded a research contract to Renaisi, who will be its external evaluation partner for the next three years.
Renaisi will work with Spirit and its grant-funded partners to build on Spirit’s first summative evaluation, published in 2017, and to better understand the collective impact of its grant awards up to summer 2022.
“We looked for a collaborative, curious evaluator who will help us deepen our understanding of what works – and what doesn’t – in improving wellbeing, social connectedness and perceptions of disability through our funding,” says Spirit’s Head of Programmes Amy Finch.
“Renaisi fit the bill on all counts, and we’re really looking forward to starting work with them. I’m particularly excited that this contract sets some of the funding aside so that we can explore interesting themes that emerge over the course of the three years.”
As a funder, Spirit requires high levels of engagement in monitoring and evaluation from its grantees, and provides significant resources to them in order to meet these expectations.
Spirit regularly hosts structured learning events for all the programmes in its portfolio, as well as producing guidance materials, and allows up to 10% of allocated funds to be dedicated to M&E.
Alice Thornton, Renaisi’s Head of Learning, says: “Our goal as a learning partner is to help organisations understand and use insight to improve their work, which is why we are so delighted to be working with Spirit of 2012.
"Their brief invites us to report on their impact in real time, and gives us the scope to respond to emerging themes. We are excited about the possibilities of this learning partnership.”
Spirit completed its first external three-year summative evaluation in October 2017, working in partnership with InFocus.
This showed the positive impact of its funding: across all projects, participants reported a 10% rise in life satisfaction, a 9% rise in happiness, and falling levels of anxiety.
Through its new research partnership with Renaisi, Spirit will aim to identify the impact its projects have had on improving wellbeing, changing perceptions and attitudes towards disability and increasing social cohesion.
It will also explore some of the factors that make positive change more or less likely to occur, and the role of funders in supporting those changes.
The learning from the Renaisi contract will provide the funding sector with vital insight into successful, impactful grant-making, and will inform Spirit’s future funding strategy.
To read our 2017 summative evaluation, and our written response to it, click here.