Eden McCallum’s NGO Partnership: an analyst’s perspective

14 August 2019

Eden McCallum launched our unique NGO Partnership in 2008 with Impetus and Virgin Unite as our two founding NGO Partners.  Save the Children UK and The Royal Foundation joined as Partners in 2014 and 2018 respectively.  In the last 11 years, our consultants have delivered over 140 pro bono projects in the UK and abroad, supporting more than 50 charities and charitable initiatives with strategy, organisation design and operational improvement advice. Leveraging the business expertise of our consultants to drive social impact gives our firm and our consultants the opportunity to play our part in addressing enormously important issues.

Whilst the NGO Partnership originally focused on enabling our consultants to provide support to charities, we have recently launched an initiative which also allows our in-house analysts in London and Amsterdam to work with Impetus and its charity partners.  “This initiative sits within the main NGO Partnership and feeds off its learnings; but is tailored to the interests and capabilities of our analysts. It has been wonderfully successful”, said Hilary Corroon, director of the NGO Partnership, “It ensures that Impetus can tap into the analytical skills of our team to support data-driven decision making and planning in areas such as strategy, fundraising and partnerships – whilst allowing our analysts to make a meaningful contribution to the lives and prospects of disadvantaged young people.”

Bas Gerdsen was the first analyst in the Amsterdam office to be involved in the NGO Partnership. He worked together with Sherine Mahmoud, Investment Director at Impetus, to help overcome a key definitional challenge for the organisation and the sector.  Much of Impetus’ focus is on young people in the UK who are “NEET” – a common sector acronym for those Not in Education, Employment or Training.  But whilst there is a clear, accepted definition of what counts as being “NEET” at a point in time, there is no such alignment around what good, sustained EET and sustained employment looks like for a young person. Without this, it is hard to measure, track and predict successful outcomes for charities working with disadvantaged young people; and it is hard for organisations like Impetus to communicate success and share learnings on how it can be achieved.

Bas worked closely on this challenge with Sherine and her team, leveraging his consulting skills to collate, review and synthesise relevant literature and data from the UK, US, Australia and Germany. Together they established key parameters for a definition of EET and a set of recommendations for future research.

“This was an interesting and unique experience for me, Bas commented.  “Engaging with a small, tight-knit team and working in a different environment gave me the opportunity to step up and to deepen my skill set, in particular my client relationship, project management and thought leadership skills.  I loved the challenge, and derived huge satisfaction from knowing that my work was directly impacting people who need it most.”

Impetus were equally thrilled with Bas’ support.  “Bas was delightful to work with and answered the research questions which helped drive key strategic decisions internally”, said Sherine. “This work has been critical to our thinking in this area and will inform the guidance we give our charity partners on measuring their outcomes as well as our future research plans. We’re so grateful that Eden McCallum has chosen to be an Impetus pro bono supporter.”