What led you to ImpactLab? We were looking for support to learn more about our data, understand what it tells us, and evidence the difference we make in a meaningful way. Anecdotally we knew that we were having an impact, and achieving our mission, but we also knew our story was a challenging one to tell. That’s why we wanted ImpactLab to help us share our outcomes, and our impact in an evidence-based way. Additionally, we aimed to use this research to gather more community and funder support, advocate for change and create broader social empathy.
What did the project look like? Ngā Tāngata Microfinance is an independent provider of microfinance services to New Zealanders living on low incomes. Our service is community-based, not-for-profit, and supported by Kiwibank and the New Zealand Government. We offer no-interest, fee-free microloans supported by financial mentoring and debt management. Our Kaupapa is to provide a fair and affordable alternative to high cost and predatory lending, and to support families to address unmanageable debt through financial mentoring and a strong focus on building financial capability. GoodMeasure investigated our loan products, initially measuring them during 2019-2020, as well as remeasuring in 2020-2021. We looked at the journey we take our clients on, from the initial financial mentoring starting point – loan application, approval, and disbursal – mentoring support to improve financial literacy – relief of financial burden – all the way to improved financial stability (and positive impact).
What did you learn? We learnt a lot about our organisational structure, our operating model, clients, and our stakeholder relationships. GoodMeasure fundamentally changed our operations and service delivery.
We knew we had a vital mission and vision, and the recipe we had been operating from had served us well, but we didn’t have the insights we needed for growth and development. GoodMeasure provided those insights – it was not just the result (SROI) that was most useful for our team – it was the deep dive into data, supported by the ImpactLab team, that helped us the most.
How did the work impact your organisation? Three years on, we are a significantly different organisation. Our work with ImpactLab was the cornerstone of our intense period of development. With our GoodMeasure reports, we secured funding to invest in organisational development, which included a full review of our governance structure, improved client-focused marketing and communications, increased loan applications and disbursals, and the introduction of a third loan product. We have also improved our community partnerships and affirmed our positive stakeholder relationships for long-term sustainability.
How have you leveraged your GoodMeasure report? Our GoodMeasure reports have been helpful for us both internally and externally. Internally, the journey helped us to improve our team’s knowledge and understanding of our data and we have used our learnings to improve our systems. Externally, we have used our reports to demonstrate and evidence our impact, tell our story better, and encourage further community and funding support.