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Measuring our impact

Tuesday 16-12-2014 - 00:00

Published December 2014

When we state our impact in terms of the number of people attending events, the membership figures for societies or the amount of money flowing through our doors, we are selling ourselves short.

Wouldn’t it be better if we link key figures back to our core organisational purpose? To do that, we must consider what extra information we need to know and what research we can use to show our activities contribute to our intended impacts.

Students’ unions make huge contributions to education and society every day. Understanding and articulating our impact is vital to promoting our movement and safeguarding our existence for the future. Today I’m pleased to share with you a beginner’s guide to measuring impact, using ‘social return on investment’ methods published earlier this year by NUS and the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

I hope you will consider using this quick guide to help you prepare your students’ union’s impact story for the Big Conversation. We would love a couple of paragraphs about the way your students’ union has changed lives and made an impact on society this year. Reflecting on this and celebrating it will support a national debate about the place of students’ unions in education and society.

Movements of the world

To challenge ourselves to understand our work differently and think innovatively about how we operate, we’re sharing snapshots of what students’ unions look like around the world. Episode 3 focuses on Africa – specifically Swaziland, Ghana and South Africa.

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This week we have sent out letters to 75 national leaders in UK society, from organisations including the Electoral Commission, the Royal Society of the Arts and the National Youth Agency. We have asked them about the effectiveness of students’ unions today, and where they would like to see them in 20 years’ time.

Who do you know with an interesting perspective on the future of students’ unions? Please send the template letter (HE/FE) to your networks or point them towards the online form. Responses need to be in before February.

Thanks for your support this term and I look forward to seeing you all in 2015,

- Raechel 

 

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