BBC Children in Need supports hundreds of thousands of children and young people across the UK who are experiencing all sorts of challenges in their lives. Many of them were badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and BBC Children in Need responded to the crisis by adapting its funding and ways of working very quickly. Because we knew them well from previous projects, they asked us to evaluate the difference their crisis response had made and what they could learn from it for the future.
We worked with the Head of Insight and colleagues across the organisation to identify the data we could bring together to tell the story of BBC Children in Need’s Covid response. They provided us with a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data about how children’s and young people’s needs changed during the pandemic, and how their grants were used to meet these needs. We then identified 15 members of BBC Children in Need staff who were pivotal in designing and implementing the Covid response, and 15 community and voluntary section organisations that received Covid-response grants, and interviewed them all about the experience of making and receiving grants during the crisis and the difference the response made to them, their organisations and to children and young people.
The biggest challenge was the sheer volume of rich data we needed to analyse and distil into a digestible and meaningful report. We worked closely with the Head of Insight and their team to make meaning from the analysis together, combining our different experiences and expertise to develop a clear and compelling story.
We wrote a concise report which was shared with the Executive Team and across the whole organisation. We also presented our findings to as many of the organisation’s staff as wanted to attend, so that they could hear the difference they had made directly from us. This was really well attended and staff said they appreciated hearing about their impact, and the challenges they had faced in making that impact, from an independent third party.
Staff also told us they appreciated the opportunity to reflect on what had been an intense and challenging time, and to share their learning with the rest of the organisation. Working in the organisation is always very busy, and this gave them a pause to think, learn and celebrate their achievements.
The insights we produced have been used to support BBC Children in Need’s communication and fundraising, to demonstrate how the public’s donations helped children and young people in a time of crisis. It also contributed to an internal conversation about how the learning from that time can help the organisation keep improving the way it works.