Gingerbread is the only national charity focused on supporting single parent families. Our expert advice, training and peer-led support are backed up by high quality research and policy work that helps secure tangible reform for low single parent income families. However, like many charities today, we have faced tough decisions about where we concentrate our efforts and how we financially support those decisions. Through our strategic review process and development of a new strategy it became clear that single parents’ needs were changing and that we needed to adapt what we do as an organisation to respond to this.
For a long time at Gingerbread, we have used evidence and insight to successfully campaign and influence policy and public debate to create a better world for single parents. However, we have rarely used this approach to redesign services and programmes.
Through funding from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder we were able to develop our Change Framework.
We used a four-stage process to design the Change Framework, to then answer four key questions which would become central to this work. These questions were:
- What do single parents need from Gingerbread?
- What does staff and trustees experience tell us?
- What can we learn from our existing evidence base?
- What is important to our external stakeholders?
For us, the Change Framework is part of an intentional learning journey. We want to celebrate our successes but also be honest about changes in the organisation. Creating a learning culture can be difficult and prompts significant challenges, and we want to be transparent about what these challenges have looked like. We have revised our targets for those service delivery areas that presented the greatest difficulty and have had some tough conversations with funders. By redefining success, and acknowledging failure, we have been able to adjust our focus and make strategic decisions that enable us to support single parents in a more focused and impactful way.