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How benchmarking boosts results in the charity sector


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DateJuly 03, 2014 Posted by: Laura Overton   Keywords: Ambassadors, Charity Sector, learner engagement, measuring value, strategy, Towards Maturity Benchmark

Members of the Charity Learning Consortium have been using the Towards Maturity Model since 2010, as an independent framework to review their current learning practices and compare their results with their peers, both within the sector and beyond.  This process not only highlighted common challenges faced amongst members, but also areas of effective practices that needed to be addressed. 

Members meet each quarter, to explore practical ideas embedded within the model in an interactive workshop that draws on the benchmark findings and the experiences of the group.  Every quarter, each member is encouraged to identify one practical action point within the model that they will implement back at work.  Each year, members use the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study to review progress and uncover ongoing areas of improvement for the following year. 

So what has been the impact of three years of using the Towards Maturity Benchmark to proactively learn and grow together?  We looked at charities benchmarking data for 2012, in which 50% of the 100 charity organisations were Consortium members and 50% were non members, allowing us to compare their responses.

Consortium members scored higher in the Towards Maturity Index than non-members, but more specifically, we found that members:  

  • Had the confidence to e-enable more of their formal learning than non members (28% of formal learning e-enabled vs 20%) and a wider variety of skills
  • Allocated a third more resources to developing content and 13% fewer to delivering training
  • They were at least twice as likely to agree: 
    • They have an organisation-wide strategy for technology enabled learning 
    • They identify business metrics that they want to improve with learning 
    • They recognise and reward individuals who engage with online learning 
    • They support individual career aspirations 
    • They allow staff to self select 
    • They encourage staff to organise their own personal learning strategies 
    • They audit the skills of L&D staff against those required 
    • Their L&D staff have the right skills to design solutions that exploit learning technologies to business advantage 
    • Their learners engage in e-learning courses without prompting 
    • They equip line managers with resources so to support their teams 
    • They regularly communicate e-learning successes to line managers and supervisors 


Benefits reported by Consortium members: 

  • Twice as likely to report that they have noticed changes in staff behaviour and that learners put what they learn into practice quickly 
  • Almost twice as likely to agree that their managers agree that e-learning delivers additional business benefit 
  • Twice as likely to agree that their ability to change products or processes has improved
  • 42% reduction in cost vs. 21% non members 
  • 36% reduction in delivery time vs. 23% non members 
  • 28% improvement in organisational productivity vs. 10 % non members 
  • 41% increase in the proportion of staff on learning by 41% vs. 17% non members 

Proactive benchmarking is delivering great results.  But members are still on a journey – the Towards Maturity Model continues to highlight additional areas of improvement, including finding ways of supporting performance and demonstrating value.


View the full Spotlight Report on the Charity Sector


"Networking with others in the same arena has worked well for us; it helps to share good practice, compare approaches and strategies.  To this end our involvement with the CLC has been invaluable." 



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