Measuring Digital Impact at Prince’s Trust International

5th May 2021

The events of 2020 affected every aspect of our work at Prince’s Trust International, creating new opportunities, challenges and a need for digital innovation and delivery across every country we work in. Over the past year, 79% of the young people we’ve worked with have been supported through digital methods, and to properly support their goals, aspirations and prospects, it has been essential for us to constantly monitor and evaluate our programmes, measuring digital impact and constantly learning from our findings.

To ensure that these programmes were implemented effectively, it was essential to develop new digital processes for gathering data. Diletta Morinello, Head of Impact for Prince’s Trust International says,

“The pandemic impacted our ability to have direct interaction with young people and delivery partners as we would have done in a pre-pandemic world. It was important for us to reassess which activities remained a priority and to analyse the possibilities of conducting them using appropriate remote methods and tools.”

In place of face-to-face evaluation, we prioritised digital data collection using ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) to implement creative solutions and combat our lack of direct interaction. We have digitalised our data collection forms, allowing our partners and facilitators to embed this within their delivery, and enabling us to continue gathering feedback from young people, measuring digital impact and monitoring the effectiveness of our activity.

Through these methods, we surveyed  young people from our programmes, to gather their feedback and feelings about the work that has taken place during the pandemic. Of these young people, 61% of the respondents said that ‘online learning had supported them to make changes in their life’, with the majority developing new skills and making plans for the future.

Not only has this research allowed us to identify clear areas of success and positive outcomes, with 60% agreeing that it was easy to get online for digital programmes, it has also created opportunity for learning. The findings identified an essential technology requirement for digital programming, as almost half of the young people surveyed had to borrow equipment in order to participate in the programmes and there was a direct correlation between those who were easily able to access tech, and those who found the programmes most impactful. It’s data like this that gives us evidence to improve access and effectiveness of programmes moving forward.

This research doesn’t only give us the ability to better implement digital programmes, it also highlights the continued need for face-to-face delivery once the pandemic comes to an end. More than half of respondents to this survey felt that in-person delivery was still the more effective method of learning for them, with just 14% preferring an entirely online curriculum.

It has been equally important to listen to the feedback of our delivery partners during this period of upheaval. By using the same digital measurement methods, we found that not only did 85% of our delivery partners feel that our support for digital delivery has been ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, but 71% plan to continue digital delivery once the pandemic is over, with 79% feeling that virtual delivery is an effective method of delivering content. Diletta reflects,

“I am proud that the Impact team has been able to pivot and adapt our processes to evidence the impact and contribution that Prince’s Trust International has globally. We have been able to turn challenges into opportunities, rethinking how we approach evaluation and planning, relying on remote M&E and data collection to continuously learn from our partners and the young people we serve.”

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic world, we can be certain that digital delivery will remain central to the future of our programmes, and the way we measure our effectiveness. Many of the solutions that have been piloted in this last year proved to work for our face-to-face, blended and fully digital projects, and the data we’ve collected highlights that despite significant initial challenges, the young people we serve continue to feel that our programmes give them the skills and tools they need to achieve their goals.

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