SAVE THE CHILDREN
Save the Children
1 designer, 2 developers, 1 product manager
About Save the Children
A 100-year-old global organisation, Save the Children runs diverse programs that reached more than 40 million children in 116 countries in 2018 alone.
Save the Children’s Australian portfolio encompasses programs in every state and territory. Its work covers child protection, education and health initiatives, supported by corporate partners, trusts and foundations, local, state and federal governments, and of course individual donors too.
Today, the financial support given to organisations like Save the Children is increasingly driven by donors’ desire to see the direct impact of their giving. But Save the Children Australia didn’t have the systems in place to truly and accurately measure the impact of its work.
Also, while the market wanted impact measures, the organisation itself wanted to be able to tell compelling stories around those impacts. That included capturing the way programs were set up and their methods of working, as well as measuring outcomes.
That, in turn, required more flexible information systems than Save the Children Australia had in place.
“The document that we got from Cogent became the blueprint for everything that we took forward for the following 12 months.”
Dave Bushell, Programs Data Manager
Save the Children
Knowing they needed experienced help to define the problem they were facing, the team turned to Cogent.
Our Clarify process saw Save the Children team members from all over the country fly in to Melbourne for a four-day workshop. Described by Save the Children Australia’s Programs Data manager, Dave Bushell, as “professional” and “focused”, the workshop charted previously hidden data needs with team members at all levels, from a breadth of programs.
Of course, talking about data systems can get boring — especially for those who aren’t technically minded — yet participants found the workshops fun, very natural, and very relaxed. “At that really early stage [in the problem definition process] you need an environment where you can just say anything… It was the perfect environment for that,” explains Dave.
“Cogent knew how they wanted us to walk through this process, but at the same time it still felt like it was led by us.”
Save the Children Australia went into the Clarify process wanting a clear, concise definition of their problem that could be shopped around different parts of the organisation. That way, everyone would understand the opportunity cost of not having better information systems in place.
But what they received served a bigger purpose.
“That document became the blueprint for everything we took forward in the following 12 months,” says Dave.
It gave Save the Children Australia a template to explore different options for a new system that could be used easily by frontline staff, and is now being used in the tendering process for the development of that system.
Rather than a checklist, the document gives external providers a clear explanation of the problem that, critically, carries the voice of Save the Children Australia’s frontline team.
And it positions the organisation’s decision makers to take immediate action — something they know is needed if they’re to continue to provide vital programs for Australia’s next generation in a highly competitive fundraising environment.