So, I’m going to ‘fess up – research terrifies me.
I’ve got so much respect for academics – indeed the whole world relies on research – but it’s just so complex and specialised.
But if I’ve learnt one thing from running my own social enterprise, it’s to find specialists who can do something you’re not able to do yourself. This is true of accounting (I hate finances, so the first thing I did was get an accountant), video editing (another thing that bamboozles me!), and the same is also true of research – if I want detail, data or evidence about a topic, I would definitely bring in the professionals. So I’m super excited about this new project from the Institute for Social Justice at York St John University, who are going to cover the cost of academic researchers to undertake research studies with selected local organisations.
This could have a huge impact on the sector. It can strengthen your funding bids; allow you to gather and record data about your beneficiaries; help steer your organisation’s growth and development; drive efficiency and return on investment; help you to develop new services and ways of working; or provide evidence for why your organisation is needed. The potential is huge.
And to access it, all you need to do is have a think about how a researcher could help your organisation. This doesn’t need to be well thought out – the researcher will work with you on the details – just an aspiration at this stage. For example, “I would like to know how we can strengthen the social enterprise sector in York”. Pretty basic thinking, right? But this starting point will open the door to more advanced discussions with a researcher, who can work on methodologies, existing research, delivery strategies and more.
If any of this resonates with you, and you’d like to find out more, I’ll be hosting an online Briefing Event with Matthew Reason, Director of the Institute for Social Justice, for interested organisations [Tuesday 8th March, 10am – 11am – Booking Link]. This is a low-key introductory event where York St John will outline the project and you can ask any questions. This will be followed up by a second event for those of you inspired to take part in the project [Thursday 31st March, 10am – 11.30am – Booking Link].