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Our Approach

About the Programme

Research and learning is at the heart of our approach to making the most of the money we invest and the partnerships we make. We are committed to ensuring that we work with all our grant holders to really understand the outcomes and impact that the projects are having for the people they work with and for.

Understanding Impact

Our grant making programmes are underpinned by a Theory of Change, which was developed in consultation with more than 30 of our stakeholders.  This shows how we believe that supporting people to be more active, creative and connected leads to positive social outcomes.

We ask all projects to select which of the outcomes they are aiming to achieve, and develop a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to identify how they will understand their impact.

We are keen to understand the overall impact of our investments as well as look at what each project is aiming to achieve. All projects are asked to report on the impact that their project is having on subjective wellbeing, using the ONS wellbeing measure.

We ask grantees to work with Spirit’s external evaluations so we can understand the impact of our funding. From 2014 – 2017, InFocus enterprises acted as Spirit’s independent evaluator. You can see their summative evaluation, and our response to it, here.



Download the inFocus Evaluation Report                                 Download our response to the report here





Our ethos as a funder is to provide high challenge and high support. We are genuinely interested in what works, and what doesn’t – and offer grantees the flexibility to make in-flight changes to projects based on what they are learning.
We bring our grantees together to learn from each other, and share what we learn openly with the wider sector. 
In October 2017, we announced a contract with the Behavioural Insights Team to provide evaluation support through a series of workshops and surgeries over the next three years.