Tags:#NVW2020VolunteersImpact Report 2019

2 min read

What's the impact of a Springboard volunteer?

Springboard’s approach to professional development for principals is a little different.

While we have a set curriculum of programmes and workshops, this work comes alive thanks to the work of more than 400 unique volunteers.  

As the very last piece on our 2019 Impact Report, and to coincide with National Volunteer Week 2020, we’re going to shine a light on how the cross-sector model makes a lasting impact on NZ educational leaders.  

Volunteers create a unique learning environment 

Just as every principal’s environment is unique, so too is that of our volunteers.  

Coming from private, public and philanthropic sectors across New Zealand, each volunteer brings their own approach to our programmes and workshops, creating a dynamic learning environment based on what principals need.  

For so many principals we spoke to for our Impact Report, this unique flavour was the real standout in their time with Springboard. 

The insight from outside education was the biggest light-bulb for me – really, really invigorating.
SLPP Principal, 2019

Volunteers create lifelong partnerships 

Our volunteers – in particular capacity partners and High Performing Leaders coaches – provide insightful, trust-based coaching over the course of many months. This forms relationships and connections that last well beyond a principal’s time with Springboard.  

I haven’t just met a new coach or partner – I feel like I’ve made a friend for life.
SLPP Principal, 2019

Volunteers develop their own skills

Beyond the professional development for principals, volunteers almost unanimously felt that working with Springboard improved their own skills.  

Knowledge transfer, learning and applying new frameworks, innovative thinking and reinforcing their own leadership capabilities – the benefits cited as ones brought back to a volunteer’s own organisation were endless.  

Across the board, volunteers learned more, felt greater engagement and loyalty to their own organisation and education in New Zealand, and truly understood the difference they were making in schools.  

The value of the work Springboard volunteers do is truly immeasurable, in scope and depth. But the impacts of it are clear – and are the reason our volunteers continue to give so much of their time and energy to these principals.  

Analysis and evaluation of Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand learners.

2019 Impact Report

In 2019, Springboard Trust continued to improve outcomes for students, principals and schools across New Zealand. Reaching a record 154,212 learners nationwide, our portfolio of programmes, workshops and services supported more than 400 principals in improving their educational leadership.   In this Portfolio Impact Report, you will find:   A breakdown of our portfolio by region and programme.  Qualitative and quantitative analysis of our impact on New Zealand school leaders and students.   Analysis of our volunteers' work and impact. We have gone further than ever before in the evaluation of our impact on students in NZ schools, and are thrilled with the results - we hope you are too. 

Reflexive thematic analysis and the challenge of leadership evaluation

How we measure our impact for New Zealand learners. At Springboard Trust, we work with more than 300 volunteers and principals every single year. Each of these individuals has their own unique experience, bringing their own expertise and background to courses like High Performing Leaders and the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.   Throughout their journey with Springboard, and for some time afterwards, we gather information on the impact that Springboard’s work has had through surveys, interviews and specially designed assessment rubrics. This gives us a significant breadth of qualitative and quantitative data about how our portfolio impacts principals, volunteers, organisations, schools, senior leaders and New Zealand students.  Every year, we publish this data – along with substantial analysis of it - in our Impact Report. It includes our work on a new evaluation framework, reflexive thematic analysis, qualitative and quantitative findings that link the work we do with principals to positive outcomes for students.  With the 2019 edition now available for you to read, it’s a good time to break down some of the ways we use this data to measure our impact.   How we are measuring our impact: Reflexive thematic analysis  In the past, we have presented impact data qualitatively, as stand-alone case studies or supporting evidence. By utilising reflexive thematic analysis and a dedicated statistician, we have been able to turn this wealth of information into statistically significant findings around our impacts on schools and learners.   Thematic analysis (TA) is an overarching term for a set of practices in psychology, that have applications well beyond this field. In TA, researchers analyse qualitative data (like interviews, surveys or other expressive, open-ended responses) and identify statistically significant themes and outcomes. In short, it’s a more objective way of demonstrating results from data sets that can be highly subjective.   Reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) is a subset of this, and was originally developed by the University of Auckland’s Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke in 2006. Since then, it has become a hugely popular approach which has seen it being used as a methodological approach in hundreds of academic journals internationally.  It is particularly well-suited to data sets that relate to people’s personal experiences or perceptions, and so forms a useful basis for analysing Springboard Trust’s impact.   RTA consists of the following six key steps which are recursive - meaning that the researcher might move back and forth between these steps several times:   Familiarising yourself with the data or information  Giving each element of the data a name or label (coding)  Developing the high-level themes or patterns within the data  Reviewing these themes against the entire dataset  Detailing and analysing each theme  Writing up the findings  We have adopted this approach, together with quantitative methods for the 2019 Portfolio Impact Report with the assistance of a dedicated Research and Evaluation professional, resulting in the most in-depth analysis of Springboard Trust’s impact to date. The challenge of measuring the impact of educational leadership  Springboard Trust’s ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for New Zealand students, which we do by enhancing educational leadership. However, research on this area has indicated some complexity in linking leadership in schools directly to student outcomes.   While it might seem reasonably straightforward to evaluate an SBT programme’s impact (just ask one of our principals), there has been ongoing debate about whether it is possible to determine the true and direct impact of principal development programmes. This debate is prevalent right across the development spectrum – not just in Springboard’s work.   Specifically, while there has been consensus on the role of leadership in student achievement, there has been a general reluctance to confront the challenge of determining indicators of effectiveness, identifying what aspects to measure, how to measure them and how to interpret and respond to the results.   This means the challenge for researchers – and Springboard Trust – is to go further in our evaluation than the bulk of educational research has gone before to navigate the complexity of tying school leadership, organisational function, teacher effectiveness and student learning together. That means clarity in identifying the focus and outcomes, consideration of whether these outcomes can be achieved in the short-, medium- or long-term, the selection of relevant and varied data sources (e.g., multiple stakeholders, multiple methods) and the systematic collection of evidence over time. All of this must also be tied together in an agreed-upon evaluation framework and a commitment to gathering data from the short- to long-term. Without that long-term commitment to evidence the impact of development programmes, we have - at best - a snapshot of delivery rather than evidence of impact over time. The challenge of evaluation is not one we – or anyone working in this field – can solve overnight. But we believe that with this Impact Report, we have laid the groundwork for some remarkable findings in how school leadership influences student outcomes.   It forms part of our commitment to both improving student outcomes and continuously improving our portfolio, year on year, to better help principals and learners alike. We're thrilled with the results, hope you enjoy them too. 
7 min read

Find out more about how you can help New Zealand schools

Capacity Partners

Capacity Partners are matched with a principal undertaking the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, meeting one-on-one with them throughout the year with through nine workshops. They build trust, understand the needs of the principal and their context and support the principal in building their strategic plan and their leadership in their unique situation.   As a Capacity Partner, you will work with principals who are new to Springboard Trust and may have backgrounds, specialisations and experiences vastly different from your own. Taking the time to listen, learn and leverage your expertise to support them is critical to success.   The experienced Springboard Trust team will match you with a principal, making all the necessary introductions before the programme begins. You’ll also be part of a cohort with five other principals and their volunteer Capacity Partners, as well as a volunteer who will facilitate each workshop.   Who makes a great Capacity Partner?  Typically, Capacity Partners are senior leaders in their organisation, who are highly capable and skilled professionals.  Experience is typically in strategic planning, change or programme management with strong coaching skills. They may also be emerging leaders hoping to support their learning and ongoing career growth, or who want to accelerate their development in this area.   Volunteers who are also skilled and experienced in leadership or facilitation.   You’ll have experience in coaching, understand how to lead people (particularly from a strategic perspective), and grasp the core ideas of strategic planning, change management and transformation. Time Requirements Capacity Partners are asked to volunteer approximately 40 hours of their time annually, including a three-hour induction for first-time volunteers and nine half day workshops over a calendar year. Programmes typically start in March and have their final celebration workshops in November.  Participation in the workshops is encouraged to ensure maximum learning and impact for the volunteer but also encourages the conversation and discussion that happens within the cohort. 

Subject Matter Experts

The Subject Matter Expert (SME) role is a flexible opportunity to support alumni (principals who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme) as they take on a bespoke project built around their strategic plan.   This might be assisting them at a Kickstart Your Strategy workshop, helping them review an annual plan, or simply sitting down with a principal and/or their team to help them clarify goals for the year ahead. What makes a good Subject Matter Expert? SMEs are typically senior leaders in their organisation, and have a wide range of expertise, including but not limited to:  Change management  Strategic leadership  Instructional design and leadership  Project management  Transformation projects  Coaching  Strategy analysis and refresh Marketing, branding and communication  Depending on the project, we may require more specialist skill sets for principal support. We would ideally prefer SMEs to have previously worked with Springboard as a Capacity Partner.   Time requirements Due to the variability of the work SMEs do, requirements may vary. Setting up a project usually takes 8-10 hours, while implementation may be anywhere from four hours to 50, across three to 12 months.  


Volunteer coaches work in the High Performing Leaders (HPL) programme, building an individual principal’s leadership insight, capability and practice – all with the goal of them successfully leading their school to better student outcomes and delivery to their strategic plan. You could be working with alumni principals, their leadership teams or their middle leaders.  What makes a good coach?  Our coaching volunteers are typically senior or middle leaders in their organisation, with extensive people coaching experience . They may also be emerging leaders, looking to accelerate their development but still have a core capability to coach and development others  Due to the advanced nature of the HPL programme, Coaches should be highly skilled in the usual areas of requirement: coaching, leadership development and planning, accredited or experienced in debriefing 360-degree surveys and analysis, as well as in-depth emotional intelligence.   Time requirements Coaching volunteers will have to spend at least 10 hours on the HPL programme, over a 90-day period (a single school term).  


Volunteer Facilitators Facilitators work in two of our programmes – the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and High Performing Leadership Teams (HPLT). In the former, they work with a full cohort of six principals and volunteers, while in the latter they work with full leadership teams. While facilitating SLPP means working with principals new to Springboard, in HPLT they will be working with experienced principals (now alumni of Springboard Trust) and their leadership teams. This presents a unique set of dynamics every time, and can be an incredibly rewarding for those who volunteer their time.   What makes a great facilitator?  Typically, facilitators we work with are middle to senior leaders in their organisations, with extensive experience in people coaching or leadership. They may also be emerging leaders looking to accelerate their development, or highly skilled individuals in this area.   The key aspects facilitator should excel in are the art of facilitation itself, the ability to bring the content to life for the participants and how they can relate it to their own unique context.  Experience working with High Performing Teams and Leadership Development helps bring the programme to life for the participants.  Facilitation of SLPP in particular, facilitators should have experience in leading teams, as well as the ability to engage large groups of people and tell stories with ease.   It is critical that facilitators have strong emotional intelligence skills as you will facilitating cohorts often in varying situations of need , and contexts you are not familiar with.  Empathy and listening skills are a must.   Please note that in most cases, we prefer Facilitators to have prior experience as a Springboard Trust Capacity Partner so they have experienced the programme from that perspective.   Time requirements Facilitation volunteers for SLPP will need to volunteer 50-60 hours, including induction (for first time facilitators), across the calendar year. For HPLT, facilitators are asked to commit to up 10-15 hours over a three month period.

Our Partners