Demonstrating impact – Pippa Robson

Demonstrating impact
A 2011 report by the Charity Finance Directors’ Group looked at how the third
sector reports impact.
It defined impact as ‘the broader or longer-term change resulting from… activities’
(Breckell et al, 2011)
Of the 75 charities surveyed, only 8% were able to report on their impact.
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
How about you…?
A survey of the websites of 15 organisations that booked onto this workshop
Annual reports
Website but no impact reporting
Mention achievements
Impact report
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
So why bother?
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
What can be collected
• Outputs – numbers recorded on registers, databases,
spreadsheets, booking forms. You can record attendees,
hours spent supporting, volunteer hours, young people
into work, training sessions delivered, food parcels
distributed – the list is endless and this is why you must
know what you want to demonstrate and for whom
• Outcomes – self-reports, case studies, questionnaires,
bespoke tools (Outcomes Star, SOUL Record etc.),
observations, indirect evidence (for example a service
user signing up as a volunteer indicates increased
confidence), photos, videos, testimonials and thank you
letters, follow-ups
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
Example projects
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
Measuring and evaluating
Described as an international collective programme,
with online impact resources that help charity sector
organisations to know what to measure, and how.
Features a self-assessment impact tool called
Measuring Up. Supported by NPC, CES and NCVO
CES is now part of NCVO. Long history in evaluation
methods and consultancy. Evaluation is a key stage in
demonstrating impact – CES offer guidance on costing
New Philanthropy Capital use a Theory of Change
approach to help charities work through what they are
trying to achieve – if you are not clear about this then it
will be much harder to measure your impact
HACT is the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust, but
their in-depth work on calculating social value is
applicable across the sector
Putting a value on social impact
There has been a drive over recent
years to place a financial value on the
work charities and social businesses
do. Methods usually involve looking at
two things:
The downstream savings, or ‘savings to the public purse’
created by a project (if we didn’t help x people to stop
misusing drugs, it would cost the government x in
healthcare costs)
Attaching a financial value to a less tangible outcome,
like reduced isolation (what do people pay to feel socially
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
Social Return on Investment
Social Return on Investment is a method of
measuring value that is not traditionally
reflected in an organisation’s financial
accounts. The SROI Network was formed in
2006 and has standardised the processes
undertaken to calculate this value.
Undertaking a full SROI analysis is timeconsuming, expensive and complex.
It looks at:
• Stakeholders – full mapping
• Outcomes – detailed examination of the difference you make
• Valuations – attaching a financial value to the differences you identify
• Attribution – how different interventions have contributed to outcome
• Deadweight - how many people would have ‘got better anyway’ etc.
• Drop-off – how the impact you make diminishes over time
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
Challenges and issues
• It can be hard to show the impact of very short-term
projects, one-day events or ‘audience’ projects like theatre
• Gathering evidence about your impact may highlight that
you have not made the difference you originally thought –
can be positive or negative
• Knowing how far to go in claiming outcomes – if NBF
helps a group to get funding, are all the outcomes
stemming from that funded project part of our impact?
• Longer-term impact can only be measured if you are still
in contact with a proportion of your beneficiaries –
although you can use data to your advantage (e.g. studies
© Pippa Robson, NBF (Hull Funding Advice Service) [email protected] 01482 499032
Useful links and resources
The Global Value Exchange
Charities Evaluation Service
NCVO blog with list of good examples
New Philanthropy Capital
Report: Impact Reporting in the UK Charity Sector (Breckell et al, 2011)
Know How Non Profit
Inspiring Impact
Social Return on Investment Network

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