Upshot monitors, evaluates and reports on the impact of the Football Foundation’s (UK’s largest sports charity) £400m grant-giving activities.
The UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation, needed to find a way to monitor, evaluate and report on the impact of its grant-giving activities on local communities. Historically, the organisation had relied heavily on paper-based reporting, which proved to be time-consuming both for themselves and the partner organisations administering the community projects.
In an effort to create more transparency around its grant activities, and to provide partner organisations with more resources to deliver its grassroots projects, the Football Foundation commissioned us to create a custom web app which would:
- Enable funding organisations to measure and visualise the impact of funded programs in a meaningful and valuable way.
- Provide the organisations hosting the sporting programs with the ability to manage a program of events, collect information on participants and produce stakeholder reports.
- Be flexible enough for any organisation (delivery or funding) to define objectives and set up real-time progress indicators to easily report back on the performance of activities.
The web application, which was named Upshot, needed to cater for thousands of organisations and hundreds of thousands of participants. To fully understand what these users needed, we first mapped out the different user roles within each organisation type, before sourcing and interviewing real-life examples of each to inform our requirements gathering process.
During user workshops, we learnt that our biggest challenge would be incentivising data entry. After extensive research into users’ frustration with paper-based reporting, we built an initial prototype of the product, which included powerful dashboards and tools to help users organise events and report back on activities. We worked closely with the Football Foundation throughout this phase, producing a minimum viable product that could then be evaluated and enhanced through real-world usage.
One of the key objectives of this project, was to create a flexible system which would allow any organisation to define their own objectives and progress indicators, whilst retaining coherence across Upshot (important for its long-term evolution). The tool also needed to integrate data from Sport England’s ActivePlaces and various sources of gov.uk Open Data. Whilst our developers made this vision a reality, our design and front end teams worked towards defining a look and feel for the application, creating a set of style principles to ensure a user-friendly, intuitive interface.
Since launch, we have continued to enhance Upshot's features based on user feedback and requests, such as integrated survey tools and APIs. Thanks to the success of the tool, the Football Foundation now licences Upshot as a generic, outcome-focussed monitoring and evaluation platform - it’s currently used by 600+ licensees, both in the UK and around the world!
Upshot has revolutionised the way organisations manage and host community-based sporting projects. Since launch, the application has tracked 4,000 community projects hosted by 3,000 delivery organisations. Furthermore, Upshot now has more than 10,000 users, each of which uploads and manages data in their own way, supporting the activities of over 500,000 participants.
“We are eternally grateful to the brilliant minds of Torchbox. Without them, we wouldn't be where we are today. We chose them because they embody the ethos of the sector we work in and have an excellent track record of building easy-to-use and 'clean', uncluttered systems.”– DUNCAN JONES, HEAD OF OPERATIONS, FOOTBALL FOUNDATION