Pilotlight’s vision is a collaborative one: a world in which charities and businesses work together to achieve positive social change, and is a theme embodied throughout its programmes. However, it hasn’t always been at the forefront of our approach to evaluation. When I first came to Pilotlight, the focus was more on thinking about what can be achieved by business people supporting charities. Over the years we’ve developed this to focussing on both groups as beneficiaries for Pilotlight’s activities, thinking about what can be achieved when the two sectors collaborate effectively.
Our exploration of the change delivered for individuals participating in the Pilotlight Programme, for example, over the last few years has shown that these are more similar for charity leaders and for Pilotlighters than we might expect.
Feedback collected at the end of projects in 2018 found that 93% of charity leaders felt it had increased confidence in their role and 94% of Pilotlighters felt it had increased confidence in their ability to work with charities and social enterprises. Here’s an example of some of the feedback we received:
Increased understanding of other perspectives
100% of charity leaders and 97% of Pilotlighters said it had increased their understanding of other perspectives. Qualitative responses suggest that charity leaders finish the engagement more ready to ask themselves ‘are we making a difference?’ and with a ‘better shared understanding of where the organisation is heading and what we want to achieve together’. Pilotlighters finish with a better understanding of the role and importance of charitable objectives, charity governance and an increased social empathy.
Improved personal wellbeing and job satisfaction
86% of charity leaders and 94% of Pilotlighters said it had increased their sense of wellbeing/happiness while 89% of charity leaders and 72% of Pilotlighters said it had increased their job satisfaction. Qualitative responses suggest that for charity leaders, this stems from having the support to tackle barriers/move the organisation forward, while for Pilotlighters it is the ‘satisfaction of giving back’.
Developing mutual respect
99% of Pilotlighters said being on the Pilotlight Programme had increased their appreciation of the work of charities and social enterprises. Equally important, qualitative responses suggest that involvement in the programme could increase charity leaders’ appreciation of what the business sector could offer.
For the last few years, the evaluation framework for charities has been based on the ‘theory of change’ that charity leadership outcomes in the short term lead to organisational outcomes in the longer term. The evaluation framework for Pilotlighters has focused more on their individual ‘philanthropic journey’ (e.g. 39% of Pilotlighters completing 3 or more engagements on the Pilotlight Programme have become a trustee). However, a recent happy accident when a couple of Pilotlighters were given the questionnaire meant for charity leaders illustrated that Pilotlighters feel equally as comfortable with and have plenty of positive things to say in answer to the question: ‘Will the outputs have any longer term impact on or benefits for your organisation?’. This has given me the impetus to explore the organisational outcomes for Pilotlight’s business sector partners more in the future.
For more on Pilotlight’s impact and evaluation, see the latest Impact Summary.