Sandra Velthius on the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Report Assurance Process

Sandra Velthius, a freelance consultant, has a few words to share on why she encourages her clients to undertake the Social Value International Report Assurance process:

‘For people unfamiliar with Ireland, it is difficult to explain just how important a role the Gaelic Athletic Association plays in Irish life. Yet quantifying its worth has always proved a challenge. When the future of Na Fianna, a local GAA club in Dublin, was threatened by a proposed infrastructure development, a decision was made to commission a Social Return On Investment (SROI) study.

We considered the club’s financial year July 2017 – June 2018 and uncovered that in the region of €50 million worth of social value was created for Na Fianna’s stakeholders: players, parents, non-playing members, supporters, volunteers, members of the local community, on-site culturally aligned enterprises, local schools, venue renters, governing bodies of the sports played and sponsors.  

The most valuable outcomes we found were improved mental and physical health, friendships and a sense of belonging.  The expression of Irish cultural identity through association with the club was also considered to be very important.

Initially reluctant, I made a strong case to the club and the study’s funders (the Dublin GAA County Board) for getting the report assured by Social Value International (see also an earlier blog I co-wrote on this topic).  This gave confidence to me and to them that we had adhered to the seven principles of social value.  

The fact that the report had undergone the assurance process was referred to time and time again during the launch of the report on 1 May 2019 and the subsequent extensive media coverage.  For those interested in finding out more, the full report, value map, summary and launch presentation are available at here.

Right now I am working on another SROI study, this time of an adapted physical activity programme for people with a chronic health condition.  It is similarly absorbing.  

I made the benefits of report assurance clear to the client from the start, so Social Value International: expect to have another report submitted for review later this year!’

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