“Getting help from A5cend with our Reaching Communities evaluation was the first step towards us building our own in-house fundraising and evaluation expertise. Before that, we had been collecting participant numbers and doing the odd survey when we wanted to apply for funding, but not much else. We got a grant, delivered the work, and filled in a basic monitoring form, but didn’t collect much data. It was largely a capacity issue, but also there were knowledge gaps around evaluation in the organisation. Securing funding for the project coordinator gave us the much-needed capacity, and we have learnt so much about evaluation from A5cend that we are now able to undertake our own project evaluations.”
“We had many years of peaks and troughs – fluctuating between getting a grant and everything being okay for a while, then grants coming to an end and having to make staff redundant. We existed very much hand-to-mouth, lurching from one funding crisis to the next, making it very difficult to retain staff and deliver consistent services. We needed to find a better way of stabilising the organisation and securing more sustainable funding.”
Where Oasis are now
Oasis is now operating on a much larger scale than when it first started working with A5cend and is much more stable as an organisation, securing longer-term funding that enables it to deliver sustainable and consistent services. It is currently delivering its third Big Lottery project and its fourth 3-year Children in Need project, and has increased its income from around £250k to around £850k.
“Being able to evaluate our work effectively has been essential in helping us to secure new funding, by helping us to build a really strong track record with funders. Now that we are able to evaluate projects effectively, we can really demonstrate our impact and the value of our work.”