Social Sector Programs
The non-profit sector faces a continual challenge to deliver real benefits to society and at the same time improving efficiency and effectiveness. Meaningful and demonstrable social outcomes are becoming more important to engage stakeholders and attract support for a sustainable future.
Eduvisors draws on its Education sector expertise and knowledge to work with non-profit organisations and social enterprises working in Education sector to deliver impact. Our ultimate goal is to create a fairer, more inclusive India. We have been successfully engaged with over 20 clients across over 30 projects to strengthen their ability to address many of India’s most pressing social problems in Education.
Eduvisors partners with a few chosen foundations, non-profits, corporations, government agencies, and certain other socially-relevant institutions to bring about social impact by focusing on strategy development, collective impact, business planning, evaluation, research, knowledge creation, and implementation planning. Our work spans early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education, as well as skills development for youth and community engagement.
At Eduvisors we confront each challenge sans any preconceived notion; our solutions are based on facts rather than opinions.
We depend on our deep domain expertise in education, community, and youth, to offer practical, data-driven solutions that form effective community engagement programs and policy and improve student achievement. Unfortunately, a lack of information and resources often prevents parents, local leaders, and others from getting involved with their local school.
Eduvisors helps it’s clients overcome obstacles to community engagement with a variety of services, including:
- Community needs assessments & strategic planning – Based on comprehensive research and evaluation, Eduvisors helps education providers develop a cohesive plan to accomplish community and school goals.
- Outreach and marketing – Eduvisors’ communication experts ensure that parents and other relevant community stakeholders are always aware of how they can participate in school programs and planning.
- Collaboration and partnership building – Eduvisors helps appropriate stakeholders collaborate effectively for the benefit of their community and school.
- Training and development activities – Eduvisors produces programs for a variety of stakeholders including, parents, teachers and board members; such programs reinforce existing community engagement skills and cultivate new ones.
- Blended funding and resources – Eduvisors assists school officials monitor and track various funding streams and maximizes such investments for stronger community engagement.
The services provided by Eduvisors go beyond the basic research and evaluation. We work with the government agencies and non-profits to build effective education programs that are based on a solid foundation of reliable findings. We strive to excel at assisting educational institutions transform research into action by processing data and findings into practical and evidence-based recommendations for academic and administrative leaderships for them to produce positive outcomes for students.
The research and evaluation work done by Eduvisors has addressed quite a few critical challenges in education, including student learning outcomes, dropout reduction, schools with poor performance and high quality teacher recruitment and retention. Our research and evaluation is customized for each client’s strategic and tactical goals. We use a range of proven research and evaluation methods, including:
- Case studies
- Online & off-line surveys
- Focus group discussions
- Semi-experimental studies
- Randomized control trials
By combining expertise in research and evaluation with experience in training and technical assistance, Eduvisors is able to provide clients with best practices from research literature, sharp insights, and practical applications they need to turn research into practice and meaningful actions. Our trusted relationships with experienced administrators and teachers in the field lets us collate information and recommendations effectively.
Child assessment – Eduvisors has extensive expertise in early childhood assessment, which needs a unique combination of understanding of a variety of aspects including psychometrics (norming, reliability, and validity), administration and training, and scoring. Our team brings comprehensive knowledge of standardized and observational child assessments in language, literacy, maths, socio-emotional areas, learning, and health. Eduvisors uses such data for continuous improvement through training and technical assistance.
Implementation evaluation – At the heart of all strategy, lies effective implementation. Eduvisors’ objective in evaluation research is not only to understand whether a practice works, but also how well it works.. Our team have developed innovative methods of measuring implementation effectiveness, and service quality through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. As a result, we are able to provide practical and actionable responses to complex research questions.
Needs assessment – Eduvisors partners with educators to understand their needs – including context and background – to build capacity and effectively design responsive research, interventions, and products. Every Eduvisors project is individually customized to maximize client return on investment. As we conduct needs assessments across a number of clients, we are able to identify common issues and challenges and hence are able to provide to our clients cost-effective solutions with a quick turn-around time.
Semi-experimental designs (SEDs) – Eduvisors team have proven experience and expertise in developing innovative methodologies to studying programs and practices. We have developed post-hoc comparison groups using propensity score matching techniques and we make extensive use of historical data to develop rigorous studies that meet the practical needs of our clients.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) – Eduvisors has delivered many RCTs, thus making our research relevant and useful for our clients. Our experienced team have a proven track record of success in all aspects of RCTs, including subject recruitment, buy-in for evaluation activities, human subject protections, data collection and data analysis.
Research support and synthesis – Eduvisors has experience in all aspects of research process and it specializes in building evaluation capacity for clients. Through a variety of activities as conducting grant reviews, developing data coordinating centers, developing research-to-practice dissemination strategies, and designing research conferences, Eduvisors provides clients with a plan and recommendations to engage in data-driven decision making.
The stress on organisations to measure and evaluate the social impact that they create is higher then ever before. However, organisations face real challenges when measuring and evaluating impact, including knowing what to measure, who to involve in measurement, and how to interpret the findings and use the results. One methodology to understanding and measuring the social impact of a project, program organisation, business or policy is Social Return on Investment (SROI).
SROI is a globally recognised tool to understand and measure the impact through engaging a variety of stakeholders and determining the social, environmental and economic benefits generated and arriving at a value on this impact. This value is then compared to the investment required to generate the benefits.
The SROI methodology was originally developed by the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund in the US and was further developed in the UK. Eduvisors began using SROI methodology, tailoring it to the India non-profit sector, in 2009. Eduvisors uses the updated methodology with education ventures, non-profit organisations, foundations, government departments, social enterprises and for-profit enterprises.
Applications of an SROI analysis
SROI is a methodology to measure and account for a broader concept of ‘value’ than is captured in traditional evaluations.
An SROI analysis tells a story about the change created by an organisation or program, which typically includes case studies, as well as qualitative and quantitative information. SROI is based on stakeholder engagement and understanding from each stakeholder’s perspective the specific changes attributable to the program. The results of an SROI analysis not only help communicate value in terms which are compelling for investors but also provide an ongoing measure of effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation or program.
An SROI analysis is used for:
- Strategic planning
- Making investment decisions
- Communicating impact and attracting investment.
- Understanding what is required to effectively track outcomes.
Types of SROI analysis
Eduvisors uses three types of SROI analysis:
- Forecast SROI – designed to understand and predict the desired impact of a program or activity for significant stakeholders.
- Baseline SROI – using historic data to provide a baseline indicator of whether social value was created by a program or activity. The primary purpose is to identify outcomes, guide forward planning and establish what needs to be monitored and measured to demonstrate success.
- Evaluative SROI – Validating a forecast or baseline SROI to understand if the impact sought was achieved.
Eduvisors’ approach to SROI
Eduvisors uses the global SROI methodology and customizes this to specific client needs. A general approach to SROI analysis is as follows:
- Work with program staff and other stakeholders (such as beneficiaries of the program, or funders) to identify the outcomes of the program.
- Identify the costs of achieving these outcomes.
- Define indicators for measuring outcomes and use financial proxies to value outcomes.
- Gather data about the actual impact of the program, including a sensitivity analysis.
- Calculate the SROI ratio and prepare a report that includes perspectives on the value created for each stakeholder group and recommendations for measurement and evaluation.
- Submit the report for assurance and for verification, where appropriate.
Eduvisors can either carry out an SROI analysis for an organisation or work with the organisation to enable it to develop the skills to carry out the analysis itself.
Eduvisors provides strategic fundraising advice. We:
- Review existing fundraising operations and outcomes
- Work with staff and key stakeholders to prepare a sound fundraising strategy and detailed plan aimed at achieving greater returns;
- We structure the department in support of the plan and implementing marketing approaches to enhance reach and impact
Our experience in developing successful funding applications tells us that it is critical to have a clearly defined structure and strategic outline for funding to stop organisations getting into the “funding trap”, where organisations become completely or largely grant dependent. Our funding/bid teams work with organisations to reduce their dependence on funding by engaging with a diverse range of income generation methods in order to enable financial sustainability for the future.
Search and Scope
Our expert team of professional funding/bid writers have the knowledge, skills and experience to search and select the most appropriate funding bodies for any organisation. Our search reviews and evaluates trusts, Indian and global funders, grant giving organisations and companies. This is provided on a one-off basis like a project or on a regular basis.
Grant Writing (Bids)
We have a dedicated team of bid writing experts with years of experience of writing successful applications for small to large grants, from local charitable trusts through to international funders. Successful funding has included capital funds for a wide spectrum of Education initiatives in India – early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education, as well as skills development for youth and community engagement.
Through our experienced funding/bid writing team, we are able to create successful grant applications and have developed the capacity to support any organisation of any size.
Reporting and Evaluation
Generating funding for strategic projects is essential. However, the reporting to funders in future years can be onerous and time consuming. Eduvisors team is able to create internal systems including communication and data collection processes to ensure information required for funders has been collected, demonstrated and is successfully communicated. We also provide an evaluation for a project using our various models that incorporate SROI and other stakeholder value methods – a must for securing further funding and commissioned work.
The social and government or public sector in Education is now the largest buyer of products and services in India. However, recent economic challenges have caused the government and social sector to re-shape and re-think how education sector services are run in the future and have thus created opportunities for social and ethical businesses to provide services in the future. Social businesses in Education need to consider the affect of the changes to procurement, outsourcing, individualised budgets and the opportunity that this will present.
Bid Writing (Tenders)
Our team of tender writers have years of experience in the creation, development and management of the tender processes for a range of education sector clients in the Public and Private Sectors and have achieved tender success consistently.
We understand that the tender process can be complex, difficult, stressful and challenging. At Eduvisors, we aim to reduce the stress by supporting organisations through the process by supporting its in-house skills. Our team has a high level of success writing tenders on behalf of clients and supports clients we believe we can help.
Our support as with all of our services, is customized to our clients needs, below are just some of our methods of tender support.
- Audit tender readiness
- Create tender documentation
- Review and evaluate a drafted tender
- Full tender writing service
- Liaison with tendering organisation
- Policy and procedure development
- Product and service development
- Mentor and coach staff through the tender process
- Unsuccessful tender, review, evaluation and recommendation
Client and Scope: Eduvisors was engaged in a review of the evaluation practices and processes for a leading Foundation in India, to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies in practice and enhanced learning on its Education investments.
The Challenge: The Foundation had an experienced, capable program staff with clear long-term goals and thoughtful strategies in each program area. The data used for investment and renewal decision-making was assembled from a rich variety of sources. However, the decision around data collection for planning, grantmaking and evaluation was made on an ad hoc basis by the Education program area and officer. Although a considerable amount of high quality information was coming into the Foundation, there was no consistent process for revising strategies to incorporate new learnings, validate assumptions, confirm projected impacts, or make midcourse corrections. Program staff managed a large number of grants, limiting the time available for planning, monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities. The Foundation engaged Eduvisors to analyze its evaluation processes and identify opportunities for improvement.
Approach and Outcome: Through a combination of in-depth interviews and document review, Eduvisors analyzed the Foundation’s evaluation practices. Fifteen interviews were conducted with the Foundation leadership, staff members from the Education Program and representatives of implementation agencies working with the Foundation. In addition, Eduvisors conducted an extensive review of documents relating to strategy, grantmaking, and evaluation at the foundation.
Based on the findings of this research, Eduvisors suggested that the answer was to pare away unnecessary activities and focus on highly efficient ways to collect and distill the much narrower set of information that is truly important to the Foundation’s decision-making.
Eduvisors’ primary recommendation was to implement modest changes that would strengthen the Foundation’s tools by systematizing them, building them into the Foundation’s strategic plans, and streamlining or outsourcing the remaining work.
Recognizing the historic practices and culture at the Foundation, and the number of new processes that had been introduced in the prior two years, Eduvisors advised that its recommendations be a starting point for engaging staff in a facilitated, participatory process of change. Through that process, the Foundation developed the blueprint for the desired result: greater impact through better information with increased efficiency.
Client and Scope: A social sector implementation agency in K-12 needed to demonstrate to its funders the national impact in the schools under its scope and the value its initiatives was providing them. The implementation organization works on academic, strategic, operational and professional development in the K-12 schools – but outcomes and value measurement is not a core competence. So the organization turned to Eduvisors.
Project Summary: In order to understand and communicate the national impact of its initiatives, the client worked with us to define success in the schools in scope and to develop a practical and repeatable approach to gathering and reporting performance data.
The organization also turned the performance measurement lens internally in order to capture key data related to its own success, serving as a meaningful complement to school data.
The collection approach aggregated disparate data used to develop compelling performance reports; the organization used these reports to communicate its value to existing and prospective funders, as well as member schools.
Outcome: Today, our client has fully integrated performance measurement into every aspect of the organization.
Annually, they use the data collected from the schools and from within the organization to understand how the organization and its members are performing as a whole and make the required strategy changes.
The work has been shared with existing and prospective funders as a model for articulation of success, data collection and performance reporting.