Section 1: introduction

This section gives you a rundown of how this guide can help you, as well as some basic information about wellbeing. It should get you thinking about what you want to evaluate and why it could be useful.

Check the glossary

We’ve put together a glossary of important or unfamiliar words. You can find them all here, and they will be highlighted where they appear in the guide. Hover over or click on them to find the definition.

Meet Julie from Padley Heath

Julie’s been working at Padley Heath Community Centre for eight years. She’s a great multi-tasker – she’s the centre’s finance manager, office manager, receptionist and occasional support worker. On top of that, she handles the centre’s evaluation activities.

Padley Community Centre
Collecting data at Padley Heath Community Centre

The centre has been running three services for several years:

Adult computer classes

 

A youth club

 

Exercise classes for over-60s

 

Each service has a different funder, and Julie collects data for each one about the service they support, like how many people take part. Traditionally, funders have asked for specific data to do with the reason they chose to support their service, for example for the:

  • adult computer classes the funder wants to know if the classes are improving people’s computer skills
  • the youth club the funder wants to know if the club is reducing antisocial behaviour
  • exercise classes for over-60s the funder wants to know if the classes are improving people’s physical health.
What Julie has noticed

Generally, the data Julie collects shows the activities are doing well. But she has noticed some of the over-60s haven’t really improved their physical health – even though the classes make a big difference to their lives. They tell her all the time that they’re happier, they feel better about themselves and are more connected with their community. But that doesn’t show in her usual evaluations.

Similarly, although she hasn’t measured a drop in antisocial behaviour in her area, she has noticed that young people at the youth club have a greater range of friendships than other people their age. She’s also realised the adult computer classes improve people’s confidence as well as their IT skills.

Julie thinks it would be really worthwhile to find out about all the ‘hidden’ benefits of the activities. Partly to show more of their impact to the funders, but also for the community centre to build on what it does well, and learn what it could improve.

SEE ALL OF JULIE’S STORY ON ONE PAGE

1. Who is this guide for?

You’ll find this guide useful if you:

  • work for a small or medium-sized charity or social enterprise and want to understand if and how your activities affect the wellbeing of the people you support
  • are responsible for reporting, evaluation or impact
  • have not measured wellbeing very much or at all yet and need some more information and guidance on how to get started.

If you work for a micro charity

Section 9 may not be suitable for you. But sections 1-8 should help you understand how your organisation affects wellbeing.

2. What is this guide for?

Giving you the tools to measure wellbeing

Defining and measuring wellbeing can be tricky. So this guide should give you the confidence and the tools you need to give it a try – and be successful. We’ve included the most important things you need to know about measuring wellbeing. From what it is to how to ask the right questions and analyse your findings.

Finding out what works

We also want to use this guide to collect evidence from you. If we can share results and evidence with you and other similar groups, we can find new ways to understand and measure wellbeing at a project level, all the way up to national level. And ultimately improve wellbeing for people across the UK.

3. How this guide will help you

You can compare your results more widely

Measuring wellbeing helps you compare your different projects, and see the impact you’re having overall. You can also compare your results against the national, regional or local averages to make a better case for your service.

You’ll understand your projects better

By developing your own wellbeing survey, and linking your findings to data you already collect, you’ll understand your full impact on people’s wellbeing. You’ll also find out what works to improve wellbeing and why.

You can help us create a bigger picture 

If organisations use consistent measures and share their results with us, we can start to build a better, bigger picture of what works. We can identify strengths – and where there’s room for improvement – in the sector as a whole. 

You can use the whole guide from start to finish if you’re ready to do your evaluation. But if you prefer you can also focus on certain sections depending on where you are with your project.

4. How to use this guide

This guide has been designed to make it easy for you to dip into, and out of, each section, without being overwhelmed with information.

What’s in the guide?

Each section is comprised of a:

  • section overview
  • video explainer that gives an overview of the section and specific issues to look out for
  • case study example (you can also view all case studies on one page)

The guidance is set out in modules on each page that you can click on to open and view. To search for a specific word or phrase on a page, you’ll need to open all the toggles.

Sense checks

At the end of the sections, you can find a sense check that will help you decide if you’re ready to move on to the next section, look over a section again, or read up on specific topics at other sites. The sense checks are optional.

Survey builder

The survey builder allows you to create a customised survey that you can start to use instantly.

  1. Upload your organisational logo (if applicable)
  2. Select the questions you’d like included in your survey. The scales will automatically appear beneath the questions you select.
  3. Write your own open and closed questions, based on the guidance.
  4. You will need to include your email address to have the survey sent to you. This should happen within minutes.

 

Meet Julie from Padley Heath

Julie’s been working at Padley Heath Community Centre for eight years. She’s a great multi-tasker – she’s the centre’s finance manager, office manager, receptionist and occasional support worker. On top of that, she handles the centre’s evaluation activities.

Padley Community Centre
Collecting data at Padley Heath Community Centre

The centre has been running three services for several years:


Adult computer classes

 


A youth club

 


Exercise classes for over-60s

 

Each service has a different funder, and Julie collects data for each one about the service they support, like how many people take part. Traditionally, funders have asked for specific data to do with the reason they chose to support their service, for example for the:

  • adult computer classes the funder wants to know if the classes are improving people’s computer skills
  • the youth club the funder wants to know if the club is reducing antisocial behaviour
  • exercise classes for over-60s the funder wants to know if the classes are improving people’s physical health.
What Julie has noticed

Generally, the data Julie collects shows the activities are doing well. But she has noticed some of the over-60s haven’t really improved their physical health – even though the classes make a big difference to their lives. They tell her all the time that they’re happier, they feel better about themselves and are more connected with their community. But that doesn’t show in her usual evaluations.

Similarly, although she hasn’t measured a drop in antisocial behaviour in her area, she has noticed that young people at the youth club have a greater range of friendships than other people their age. She’s also realised the adult computer classes improve people’s confidence as well as their IT skills.

Julie thinks it would be really worthwhile to find out about all the ‘hidden’ benefits of the activities. Partly to show more of their impact to the funders, but also for the community centre to build on what it does well, and learn what it could improve.

See all of Julie’s case study

Ready to move on?