AVOCADO+ Lite training programme feedback
Our AVOCADO+ Accelerator Programme is the only tailor-made accelerator for BAMER-led non-profits in the UK. The responses we’ve received to the course have been amazing—you can read our 2022-23 impact report to see for yourself!—but it’s a demanding course, and many micro-sized non-profits aren’t able to make the commitment to a full year of intensive training.
So in 2023, we launched AVOCADO+ Lite, a scaled-down version of AVOCADO+ which builds on the practice we’ve honed over the years with AVOCADO+. Here’s how it went.
Participants’ favourite parts of the programme
Positive responses focused on the fundamentals of the training programme: the structure, content of the sessions, and the trainers. They mentioned the mentoring sessions, the way the course was organised, course content, the relevance to Community Interest Companies, the quality of training personnel, and the interactive learning formats.
”I found this session to be highly informative and helpful. I have more insight into leadership and governance that I will be working on. I can't believe how much I have learnt in one session.Ufuoma Grace AnighoroThe Marvellous Girls Club
”I didn’t know how many ways to look for funding are out there.Jaime HoyosCommunity Center Pueblito
When asked about the most important topics from the training and about what they intended to put into practice, the following were mentioned most often:
- Processes, strategies, and digital journey
- Putting together your board: Skills audit & diversity
- Networking, relationship-building, collaborations, and partnerships
- Value proposition as part of organisational strategy
- Selectivity in income generation strategy
We also found that participants’ self-rated knowledge of the training areas increased significantly after attending training events. We saw the biggest increases in knowledge about impact demonstration and income generation methods and strategies.
Knowledge and Understanding
Based on similar questions around participants’ pre- and post-event confidence, we saw similar effects per topic compared to the change in knowledge and understanding, which suggests the events achieved a good balance between delivering content and teaching practical skills. In addition, we saw a notable increase in confidence around data analysis.
”Great session. Learned a lot and have many things to put into action!Tracy DurrantEveryone’s A Singer
Participants’ suggested improvements to the programme
Negative responses focused on practicalities and logistics, such as the timing of supplementary material like slides and recordings and the timing of the sessions themselves.
As the programme progresses, we hope to be able to offer participants more examples of previous participants’ journeys through the programme as guides and points of inspiration.
The evaluation results for AVOCADO+ Lite were similar to AVOCADO+ in that attendees rated trainers’ knowledge and interaction highest amongst all aspects of the training, and the clearest space for improvement was training materials.
”I came away with so much more than just data management. It was a jam packed session full of hints and tips and things that can be done now.Sandra SutherlandLast Door Studio
Innovation Hub: Results from June 2023 pilot
On 2nd June, we hosted a training event on AI in fundraising at Linklaters HQ in central London. We covered the potential applications and pitfalls of using AI in a fundraising context, how small BAMER-led non-profits can best adapt their fundraising strategies to it, and how underrepresented communities can advocate for equality and fairness in the construction and deployment of AI-enabled systems.
”Great session, developing a better understanding of how to use AI in todays climate of fundraising was invaluable.Kadija George
Most participants participated in person in London, but one joined remotely from Manchester. The organisations they represented work in a wide range of areas, including ecotherapy, literary and creative cultural events, family support, fundraising and capacity building, and family support and young people. There were roughly equal numbers of incorporated charities, social enterprises, and unregistered community organisations.
A large majority of attendees said they had never or rarely used AI before the event. Afterwards, the same number said they planned to explore it further, and all attendees said they were either “very confident” or “a little more confident.” Attendees rated all aspects of the training as “good” or “excellent” and rated trainers’ knowledge of the subject area and confidence responding to questions especially highly.
Attendees’ level of familiarity with AI was slightly above the national average at the time: a June 2023 ONS survey found roughly half of adults in the UK had never used AI, 45% had used it a little, and 5% used it a lot. DCMS research the previous year found still lower rates of uptake amongst businesses.
However, the ONS and DCMS research did not measure confidence or ability in using AI—arguably the most important metrics for an education initiative like AVOCADO+ Lite. The large increase in confidence we observed from post-training surveys, along with comments from participants, suggests a high level of demand for in-depth courses. BAMER-led profits will need knowledge and skills, not just awareness, if they are to leverage new technologies and not be placed at a disadvantage by them.
These activities were made possible courtesy of “Propel Grant” received via The National Lottery Community Fund, for which we are incredibly grateful.