Lessons from the Springboard Mid-point Review

Categories: NewsPublished On: 22nd March, 2022866 words4.3 min read

Lessons from the Springboard Mid-point Review

Categories: NewsPublished On: 22nd March, 202239.4 min read

Introduction and background

With the support of a Small Charities Challenge Fund Capacity Development Grant, Hub Cymru Africa commenced a two-year project – Springboard – in mid-January 2021. The purpose of Springboard is to strengthen the global solidarity sector in Wales through training, resources and opportunities to collaborate and share learning through different communities of practice focusing on subjects such as anti-racism and gender.

On the first anniversary, we commissioned a review to assess progress to date, understand impacts and consider how to apply lessons learned.

Springboard’s first year has taken place in an undeniably challenging context, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with remote working, home-schooling and staff shortages all taking their toll. However, we are on track overall, reaching a total of 59 organisations in the first year, and we are confident that the planned work is now achievable. We are also reflecting and learning in order to improve for the second and final year.

Here are some highlights!

Project Management Course

What we’ve achieved

  • 20 participants
  • Those who completed the course rated it as highly useful and applicable to their work
  • Participants reported that the way they planned or shared learning with their overseas partners had changed
  • Participants collaboratively developed new plans, policies and procedures with their partners (e.g. project indicators, stakeholder analysis, theory of change, needs assessment plan).

What we’ve learned

  • Some participants found the course quite heavy and intense, so there was a degree of drop-off towards the end
  • We found drop-off was especially the case when we encouraged organisations to participate jointly with their partners in Africa (and beyond).
  • We have to ensure that all materials are accessible and that there are alternatives or ‘workarounds’ in case of participants experiencing challenges with internet connectivity e.g. power cuts and cost of data bundles.

What we’ve changed

  • As a result of feedback, the course content was emailed weekly as well as available online, and the Zoom sessions were simplified
  • As a further response, we intend to modify the delivery of our next course, which will focus on fundraising and will coincide with Meet the Funders week
  • There will be less emphasis on remote independent learning, and more on individual one-to-one support, tailored to specific needs and questions.

Donor Perspectives event and Meet the Funder activities

What we’ve achieved

  • These 4 webinars and 26 one-to-one advice sessions were very positively received and a number of new connections were made
  • Of particular note is the confirmation that 5 of the organisations taking part in Meet the Funder activities were subsequently successful in obtaining funding from participating grant-givers.

What we’ve learned

  • A total of 46 individuals took part, reflecting the increasing pressures on funding for small organisations. As one of the funders confirmed:

“Given the competitiveness of the round, and success rate, it’s clear the event was useful.”

  • However, we did not allocate sufficient time for all of the preparation, admin work and logistics that a series of events of this size and duration requires.

What we’ve changed

  • In our planning for Meet the Funder 2022, we are allowing more time for planning, administration and coordination
  • We will also ensure that we build in follow-up with funders and grant-givers as well as participants, to assess the usefulness and impact of sessions, including actual funding outcomes.


What we’ve achieved

  • The first podcast, on the theme of partnership working, was successfully produced with members of the global solidarity community in Wales and Rwanda in July 2021 and delivered in following November
  • There have been 43 downloads recorded to date.

What we’ve learned

  • We’ve learned the necessary technical skills for podcast production and identified what works best for making recordings, along with lessons such as the importance of keeping a backup recording, the need for good preparation and providing briefings to speakers on the focus of the podcast episode.

What we’ve changed

  • We’ve taken account of listener preferences in shaping the overall tone, content and length of podcasts, as well as improving both our technical skills and our briefing of speakers during the production process.

Looking ahead

For the second and final year of Springboard, we’ll continue to adapt our implementation in light of lessons learned. For example, when planning complex events, adaptations include both allocating greater time for administration and logistics and ensuring greater inclusiveness and accessibility of materials and facilities.

We are also shifting the balance of online courses from independent remote learning to one-to-one learning with follow-up advice and support. Our Case for Solidarity campaign will run from July to December, with dialogue days and an exhibition planned towards the end of the campaign period.

Limited time and resources, especially in the case of volunteer-led organisations, remain significant barriers to capacity-strengthening in the global solidarity sector in Wales. There is also an ongoing need to address attitudes and perceptions around partnership and equity e.g. ensuring partners have access to networking and training.

Despite the challenges, we’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in the first year of Springboard. The lessons we’ve learned will be reflected further and applied in the year ahead in order to reach our overall intended outcome and impact.