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Stars Foundation invests in organisations and ideas that transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally.

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New directions: An update on the Impact Awards

Posted by: Cécile on 03 Feb 2015
in Blog

Just before Christmas, I returned from maternity leave to a Stars Foundation that was undergoing some major changes. Our whole team has contributed to changing our Impact Award process, taking a host of evaluation results into account to improve our efficiency and transparency so that we can continue to award truly outstanding organisations.

Now that I’m back it’s exciting to be able to talk about these changes and give a short overview of the main differences that will take place in 2015 and 2016.

Country clusters

In the past, our process has steered us to award in countries where civil society is more established, as my colleague Alex highlighted in his blog covering the early changes to the Impact Awards.

We’ve awarded some amazing organisations, and there’s no doubt that receiving an Impact Award has changed the future for them and the children that they work with.

However, it has become clear that organisations from smaller countries with less-developed civil societies have struggled to gain recognition through the Impact Awards.

So we’ve decided to focus on clusters of countries in the three regions where we work, to enable us to reach the full range of fantastic local organisations that are working hard to address the needs of underserved children.

We want to get an in-depth understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist in the countries we are looking at.  

This will help us to understand how these challenges are addressed by local organisations, and which ones are leading the way with a clear and long-term focus and impact on children, strong leadership and outstanding management practice.

Choosing three clusters of countries, one in each of the three regions that we work in, means that we can spend time researching and working closely with experts and partners to do this.

Proactive sourcing

We have recently started to connect with experts to help us identify eligible organisations, steadily building our networks in each cluster.

As well as referrals being an integral part of our new process, talking to people and other organisations with specialist knowledge has been a really positive start to our in depth research into the regions.

Each referral partner will:

  • Nominate between 5 to 10 organisations per cluster
  • Confirm the applicants meet the Awards’ eligibility criteria
  • Provide the applicants’ contact details
  • Explain why each applicant is being put forward for an Impact Award

Stars international

In another big change, this time to the Stars team, Programmes Officer Katie will be heading to Asia to live and work for Stars in the regional setting.

This pilot aspect of the changes to the process is an opportunity to see what benefits emerge from having an employee based locally.

As part of our quest to be a more responsive donor, Katie will feed back on how fostering partnerships face-to-face is more or less useful than desk-based partnership development.

Katie will also be able to provide insight on how building an understanding of civil society through experience as well as research is useful to our development as a foundation.

What happens next?

With so much happening at Stars over the next few months, we’ll make sure to update you regularly on our progress through our website, blogs, newsletter and on social media, so stay in touch.

We’re looking forward to announcing the referral partners we will be working with in each region and excited about discovering more effective local organisations through the nominations put forward.

As always, we’re passionate about unlocking the power of local organisations and accelerating progress through partnerships.

If you work closely with local partners in the eligible countries in the chosen regional clusters and are interested in becoming a referral partner, please contact our regional teams: