The Third Sector Excellence Awards shortlist for 2017 has just been announced and Street League is delighted to share that we have been shortlisted for our 2015/16 Annual Report and associated transparency campaign #callforclarity. This external recognition of our movement to increase transparency within monitoring and evaluation is a positive step forward for both the charity and the sector.

What was the purpose of Street League's 2015-16 annual report?

As public trust in Charities has diminished over recent years we believe we must work harder to win back the faith of funders and the public by starting a “transparency revolution” around the data we share. It is vital that organisations are more open about their true impact, including what they don’t get right so that supporters get a more balanced view of how we are performing and how effective we are.

At Street League, we set out last year to produce an annual report with a difference, one that went beyond just celebrating success but instead kick-started a movement in the industry towards greater transparency. We chose to talk up-front about all the things Street League didn’t get right, instead of our successes, the goal was to be bold and to encourage more charities to be transparent about challenges and how we learn from them.

Our report was also underpinned by a social media campaign challenged the sector to get behind a transparency revolution called #callforclarity. We publicly set out “three golden rules” that would help to provide greater transparency about true long-term change and encouraged others to do the same. The campaign was supported by 108 other organisations/ individuals in the industry and many have already pledged to follow these golden rules within their organisations.

What was the aim of the report?

In addition to reporting on the financial health of the organisation, the aim of our report was to open the debate on transparency in the sector and share some simple, actionable guidelines that all charities (regardless of size or resource) could implement.

By talking openly about what we didn’t get right, we hoped to pave the way for others to do the same. We work with young people who face multiple barriers to getting a job. Young people living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK without the qualifications or the networks to walk into a job. Our staff are committed and very effective, but it is difficult work and we don’t always get it right - we need to acknowledge that charity work should be difficult and we should be taking risks in terms of the people we work with.

We wanted our impact to be viewed by more people than ever, including both current and future stakeholders. With our limited budget for printing and social media advertising, to reach the most people we knew we needed a bold, innovative approach that was inherently social and PR-led.

It was important to us to recognise the invaluable support of our staff, funders, employers and partners both within the report and in our distribution and campaigning. The goal was to make our staff feel valued and hopefully open the door for more future partners.

What was the impact of the report?

Street League received an overwhelmingly positive response to opening the debate on charity transparency and for our Three Golden Rules. A selection of data on the success includes:

  • Street League gained thought leadership for the brave move with the report and campaign being featured in the Guardian and Third Sector publications as well as support from other charity CEO’s. Supportive quotes included:
    • “Everyone involved in delivering sport needs to read this Street League annual report. Brilliant.” - Nick Pontefract, Head of Sport, DCMS
    • “Really like the honest and open approach taken by Street League” - Mike Diaper, Director, Sport England
    • “Innovative campaigning from Street League addressing transparency in impact reporting. Real leadership for our sector” - Lindsey Bennister, Sarcoma UK.
  • The charity saw record social media support with 1.8million impressions and reaching 770,000 individuals. Support from the industry included organisations such as DCMS, Sport England, England Netball, British Rowing, Leap and Stonewall.
  • The conversations on social media recorded a 96% positive sentiment score.
  • The online version of the report achieved 800 individual downloads with a 50% view to download ratio.
  • Our employees felt ownership and recognition for their hard work within the report and actively championed the message on social media.

The charities’ approach to transparency has also opened up new opportunities for the charity with CEO speaking opportunities at Clore Social, Blackbaud Inspiring Impact, London Regional Impact Network, Creative Collisions Youth Sector Conference as well as being elected to the Guardian Public Leaders Editorial Advisory Board 2017.

For more information please follow the links below:

  1. Online annual report

  2. Guardian feature - Call for Clarity

  3. Video launch

  4. Infographic video

  5. CEO Q&A video