Connections UnitingCare celebrates Social Impact Measurement award

Connections staff with award

Trish Chapman (General Manager-Community Services) and Kathryn Mackay (Senior Project Leader Service Evaluation Development)

Connections UnitingCare has been awarded ‘Best Newcomer to Social Impact Measurement’ by the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia (SIMNA). The agency was awarded for the development of the Connections Outcomes Framework (COF).

The Best Newcomer category recognises organisations that have introduced social impact measurement within the past two years. Assessment is across six criteria, with a focus on rigour, transparency and accountability.

Connections offers support programs and services to families, children, individuals and young people. More than 40 programs operate throughout 14 sites in Melbourne’s south east, supporting over 2000 people every week.

Social Impact Measurement assesses the difference made by a particular program or intervention.

Senior project leader for Connections, Kathryn Mackay, has been a driving force behind service evaluation and development. She said the COF was invaluable in assessing the impact and value of programs run by Connections

“The development of the COF has enabled our organisation to quantify how we are meeting our strategic objective of making lives better,” Ms Mackay said.

The COF has been implemented across seven Connections’ programs, incorporating over 130 clients. It has attracted considerable interest from the Child and Family Services sector and it will systematically be rolled out to almost 40 Connections’ programs.

Connections was among nine organisations announced as finalists in the 2016 SIMNA Awards. Eight out of the nine finalists were from non-profit organisations.

Chair of SIMNA Simon Faivel, said the recognition of not-for-profits demonstrates their commitment to  improving the wellbeing of people and communities in Australia and abroad.

“We encourage all sectors who want to improve their impact measurement practices to learn from the SIMNA Awards finalists,” Mr Faivel said.

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