Introducing our New Theory of Change

Posted on: 4 February 2016

Since Student Hubs began, a ‘theory of change’ has been central to our work. The theory we developed back in 2007 served us well. It provided a focus for what could become quite nebulous work and a framework for measuring the impact of our activities. You can read more about why we took this approach here.

Over the past nine years, we have grown, refined our activities and honed the impact we want to have. During this time, it became clear that our impact framework and the language associated with it no longer fitted quite so well. For this reason, we have developed a new theory of change and methods of impact measurement.

The underlying belief set out in our initial theory of change remains the same. We still believe that by supporting and strengthening student social action, students’ efforts will be more impactful. We also stand by the idea that encouraging more students to get involved in social action at university reaps benefits for the future. Our impact data shows that involvement affects students’ career decisions, lifestyle choices and continuing engagement with social issues after graduation.

However, as you will see in our video below, a few key things have changed.

Our Hubs look different to those set out in our first model. We have continually adapted, innovated and evolved to ensure that we genuinely add value to local student and community landscapes. We have honed in on what we excel at, what we can add to universities and what has impact – on both students and the community around the university.

The youth social action sector has also changed. We are excited to have developed a theory of change and impact framework that are in line with the double benefit model endorsed by Generation Change and Step Up To Serve. This will allow us to benchmark and compare the impact of our work against other organisations in the sector. It will also enable us to share best practice and develop a clearer journey as part of the decade of social action designed for 10-20 year olds.

As we have grown, we have also developed our ability to collect compelling data. Our new theory of change and impact framework enable us to collect information around concrete outcomes for students, graduates and, crucially, the community partners we work with. This means we are able to report a clearer picture of student social action’s impact in the cities we work in and on the students we work with, now and in the future.

If you are on board with our theory of change, please support student social action by donating to our crowdfunding campaign today.

Tasha Unwin

Tasha is the Manager for Student Hubs at SOAS. She leads on the work we do to engage more students at SOAS, University of London, to get involved in social action. Before taking on this role, Tasha developed our Theory of Change and Impact Framework.

Tags: Impact, Social Action, Third Sector

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