Charities and social enterprises
We help frontline service or campaign delivery organisations to measure their impact by:
1. Monitoring who it is they are helping
We provide advice on collecting demographic and circumstantial data and baseline measures of need. This information provides detail about the extent and nature of the disadvantage your beneficiaries face. This is useful for describing the need for your organisation to funders in the first place and for understanding how your intervention is working and how it could be improved (eg. by identifying gaps in reach).
2. Measuring the difference they make in the short term
It is rarely possible to design an evaluation against long term outcomes within a funder’s time frame. In the real world, long term benefits mostly occur a long time, even years, after the end of an intervention. This poses real practical problems for measuring success (eg. getting in touch with beneficiaries who have long since moved on and meeting the timescale for funder’s reporting requirements). Furthermore, and critically, it is almost always the case that long term success is dependent on a wide variety of factors beyond the charity’s control. A charity can spend a lot of time and money on an evaluation of long term outcomes for which they are unable to demonstrate/claim direct impact. We concentrate on helping charities measure their short term outcomes. As well as demonstrating progress towards a long term goal, this is invaluable for giving timely feedback about efficiency and effectiveness and identifying areas for improvement.
3. Demonstrating the difference they make in the long term
We help charities illustrate how their activities make a difference in the longer term by summarising the existing academic evidence that demonstrates that their short term measurable outcomes lead to the desired longer term outcomes. This is achieved through the development of a ‘theory of change’ or ‘outcomes chain’. For example, if a sports charity can demonstrate that it has increased level of activity among its service users, it can then draw on the wealth of academic evidence that shows that increased activity leads to improved health and well being. Similarly, if a charity supporting elderly people can demonstrate that it is enabling the timely discharge of patients from hospital, it can draw on the wealth of academic evidence that shows that elderly people show improved health and well being in their own home. There is no need to attempt to measure these long term outcomes again or re-invent the wheel. It is much better to rely on independent academic research to support your assertion.
4. Gathering feedback from their stakeholders
We encourage charities to see measurement as an organisational learning tool as well as a communications tool. In our experience, charities that approach evaluation with a desire to develop and improve their services are not only able to improve their efficiency and effectiveness as a result, but are able to achieve high quality data that strengthens their communication with funders and other stakeholders. We use our backgrounds in market research to gather feedback from your stakeholders – funders, donors, partners, staff, volunteers as well as beneficiaries – and use this evidence to: identify concrete, measurable, short term outcomes; unpick your keys to success; make recommendations for improving your services; and support your communication with funders.