How do you as a charity know you’ve done your job? That you have made a difference through your work and that the world is a better place as a result?
With increasing public scrutiny of our sector, evaluating impact is now more than ever an intrinsic part of running a charity, but for many people it appears to be a complex, confusing and time consuming process. We work with charities on an individual basis to create a bespoke process rathern than trying to make an off the peg evaluation fit all sizes.
We work from your starting point to help you develop a realistic impact evaluation strategy over the short or long term.We can help you clarify, measure, prove, communicate and maximise your impact and find the most effective ways to put your impact messages across to key audiences.
Through better understanding the changes or difference you make on the world, impact evaluation allows you to demonstrate your worth as a unique charity not only to yourself, but also to other key groups affected by and interested in your work, including funders, donors, beneficiaries, other staff, and the general public. It also helps you better define the impact you want to make and to build on your achievements to improve your effectiveness.
Standout benefits include:
- Improved mission effectiveness – helps you clarify and meet your unique purpose
- Better strategy and management – improves organizational performance, quality of work and management in line with your purpose
- More accountability, legitimacy and trust – shows you are answerable to key groups of people effected by and interested in your work, leading to better legitimacy and trust
- Increased confidence and motivation – morale and confidence within your organization is increased, improving the quality and effectiveness of work, improving impact and helping with funding negotiations
- Improved engagement with stakeholders (or key groups) – engaging with key groups of people effected by and interested in your work through research and reporting back shows you take their views seriously and value their input and perspective
- Better funding relations – it can lead to better funding relationships as you can more confidently demonstrate the difference your funds will make.
Most of all, impact evaluation helps you to answer the question - 'Have we made a difference?
Case study: Impact evaluation project for BTCV
BTCV, one of the UK’s largest and most diverse environmental charities, wanted to evaluate the difference they make in the UK. They commissioned nfpSynergy to evaluate the impact of three of their core national programmes: People’s Places, Green Gym and the Employment Programme. These programmes were selected as, although they all have a wide range of impacts, they are designed with a focus on different specific social issues - People’s Places focuses on community development, Green Gym on health, and the Employment Programme on employment.
In order to capture the breadth of impacts demonstrated by the three programmes, we used a range of quantitative and qualitative measures, including Social Return on Investment (SROI), statistical facts and figures, quotes and case studies. Our impact evaluation provided an insight into BTCV’s national impact, clearly demonstrating that they are making a valuable difference in community development, health and employment in the UK. Our research showed that £1 invested in volunteering with BTCV gave a social return of £4.
BTCV used the results from our research to produce a document called ‘Inspiring People, Improving Places’, which you can download from their website here.