Top 10 SVA Quarterly articles from FY21

Want to know what the social sector is most interested in? Today we’re sharing the most popular SVA Quarterly articles from 2021-2022.

The SVA Quarterly is a monthly publication that shares insights from SVA’s work and across the social sector to prompt learning and discussion about effective practice.

At SVA we have the privilege of working with inspiring organisations and people. Sharing our learnings with the sector is a core feature of our values to help drive collective improvement, towards an Australia where all people and communities can thrive.

With that in mind, here’s what our readers most wanted to learn about in FY21.

1. A Guide to social impact measurement

August 2020

an open book with a tape measure draped as bookmark

For close to 20 years, SVA have been leaders in the social impact measurement space. In this article, two of our resident experts compile our best articles on how measure and manage to outcomes. Director Simon Faivel (also the Founding Chair of the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia and co-Chair of Social Value International) and Principal Katya Andreyeva broke these articles out into the three main categories: design, measure and evaluate, and act and learn.

It includes Finding the Golden Thread which lays out the foundation for a solid approach to outcomes management, as well as SROI revolution or evolution which captures the latest thinking in this fast-evolving field.

2. A step towards First Nations justice in child protection

July 2020

Oval table with a coolamon in centre filled with gum leaves

Documenting a new Koori-designed program in the Children’s Court of Victoria, this article explores how Marram-Ngala Ganbu offers a step towards greater self-determination in the child protection system.

Co-authored by Principal Doug Hume and First Nations Practice Lead Desmond Campbell who both worked on an evaluation of the program, the article identifies the features that made this innovative pilot a success, and interviews Ashley Morris, the Koori man who designed and runs the program. A podcast from August 2021 is also featured on the article page, where Doug and Desmond discuss how the program has recently been picked up for replication at a second court.

3. The Uluru Statement from the Heart: what now?

December 2020

Uluru with backlay of the Uluru Statement artowrk

In November 2020, SVA CEO Suzie Riddell had the privilege of sitting down with Professor Megan Davis, the Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at the University of NSW. Professor Davis is one of the chief architects behind the Uluru Statement from the Heart, ‘an invitation from First Nations people to all Australians to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future’.

They spoke about the process of creating the Uluru Statement, why the Statement is so important, where it’s up to and the ways that people and organisations can support it. We turned their conversation into this article, a must-read for Australians wanting to do their bit to contribute towards a Reconciled Australia.

4. Scenario planning for times of great uncertainty

October 2020

While the word ‘unprecedented’ has been undoubtably overused during the pandemic, the last year has been a sobering reminder of the impact that uncertainty can have on business planning. In this article, SVA Consulting Director Susie King and SVA Consulting Principal Nancy Tran step through how scenario planning proved a valuable way to understand the potential impacts that Covid-19 could have on demand in the Victorian child and family services sector.

Not only did developing scenarios help with planning to meet increased demand, it also provided a solid evidence base for advocacy for additional funding. The pair share their lessons from this experience, as well as some key charts and tables that helped inform their thinking.

5. Disability housing: what does good look like?

March 2021

Bringing together 10 organisations from across the disability housing space, the Disability Housing Outcomes Framework project has been working on ensuring that disability housing is not just appropriate and affordable, but leads to better outcomes.

In this article, SVA Consulting Principal Anna Ashenden explains why this group has come together to develop a common outcomes framework and what they hope it will achieve for people with disability. After the article, explore the framework itself here or read the latest updates for information on how to get involved.

6. Paradigm shift needed to address joblessness beyond Covid-19

September 2020

With joblessness rising fast in the early stages of the pandemic, SVA Employment Director Lisa Fowkes penned this article to unpack the myth that to deal with unemployment we need to ‘fix’ the unemployed, rather than the labour market. As Lisa points out: ‘No matter how much we spend on job search assistance or work preparation support, it will do very little if there are not enough jobs’.

In this article, hear how she and others are calling for a paradigm shift to address fundamental challenges in the labour market to ensure we don’t entrench inequality.

7. Vulnerability and resilience in the social sector: what we learnt through Covid-19

March 2021

showing trees holding up under a strong wind

For those wanting to understand the impact of the pandemic at both an organisational and a sector-wide sector level, this article does just that.

Throughout 2020, SVA Consulting supported 80 social purpose organisations funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation. This work allowed us to capture key insights about how funding, capability and agility affect how organisations respond to crises – and brought to light key areas for investment in the sector that will allow us to be strong for the future.

8. Developing sustainable and high impact NFPs for Indigenous Australians

February 2021

Adam Davids is an SVA Board member, Fulbright Scholar and Director, Learning at CareerTrackers. In this SVA Quarterly article, Adam wrote about the results of his Fulbright research that took him to the USA to study successful institutions serving racial minorities.

He identified six key attributes common to organisations that demonstrated longevity and high impact, and extrapolates how they could be useful in the Australian context. In his research, Adam had seen that organisations with these attributes can ‘avoid being at the mercy of government funding cycles… [and] instead can remain committed to their main beneficiary’ – a statement that reflects a common challenge for many non-profits in Australia as well.

9. Social impact bonds: a tale of three Newpins

April 2021

to show that the SIB consists of three strong parties creating a strong structure to support Newpin program

The Newpin family reunification program has been deployed under a social impact bond (SIB) mechanism in three states. Of these, there has been one successful landing, one early termination, and one that has only recently taken flight. SVA has played a key role on all three; so, what have we learned?

That is the question that SVA Impact Investing Director Elyse Sainty and Analyst Patrick Bollen unpack in this article.

The first Newpin SIB was Australia’s very first social impact bond that paved the way for outcomes contracting in the country. Since its launch in 2013, we have learnt a lot about these highly technical mechanisms, and in this article share the implications for how and where they can be used to support innovative programs in the future.

10. Scaling community programs the BackTrack way

May 2021

paw tracks on pathways heading over the hills symbolising the Backtrack way reaching far and wide

How do you spread the impact of your program when it is rooted in your local community’s response to young people doing it tough? This article examines that question by looking at how the BackTrack program has approached replication. BackTrack started in 2006 in Armidale and has been ‘keeping kids alive, out of jail, and chasing their hopes and dreams’ since then with over 1000 young people having been a part of the program.

But scaling a program that has to be based and grown locally is not easy. In this article, Bernie Shakeshaft, the man behind BackTrack, shares the three-part process he has evolved as he grew the impact of the program – including how you identify the essence of a program and what you can do to adapt it to a local context.