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Advice & Support

Measuring Impact

Why measure impact?

Understanding the impact of your giving is important. Funds are accountable to the community to ensure that their giving is achieving results, especially when a tax deduction has been given for a donation.

One way to do this is to build your giving around a Theory of Change. It can be as simple as clarifying what your motivation for giving is by defining the change you would like to see and describing how and why you expect that change to take place. Your Theory of Change can then guide your decisions on what actions to support, which organisations to fund and where.

We recommend you consider building the cost of evaluation into your thinking when deciding how much to give, so organisations can conduct their own assessment of the effectiveness of the activities supported. Imagine the satisfaction of understanding how your grantmaking is making a difference.

Our approach to measuring impact

For our flagship Impact Fund, we use monitoring tools specifically designed for tracking changes in complex systems, such as policy and advocacy contexts. Significant Instances of Policy and Systems Improvements (SIPSI), developed by Clear Horizons, and the Most Significant Change technique enable us and our grantee partners to better understand the changes they’re effecting, their significance and how they have happened.

Useful resources

The following resources have been collated by our Philanthropy and Impact Team as useful starting points for understanding best practice when it comes to measuring impact.

The Compass: Your Guide to Social Impact Measurement (Centre for Social Impact)

This 2014 report from the Centre for Social Impact introduces key topics, concepts, questions and principles of impact measurement. It outlines the benefit of measuring impact as well as some key approaches and tools, and provides a checklist for getting started.

Making Change Happen (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) (US)

This short guide from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors is intended to help givers developing giving strategies based on the outcomes they would like to see. It proposes five key questions for impact measurement: (1) What change do you seek?; (2) How will change happen?; (3) Where will you see change and who will benefit?; (4) When will you see change?; and (5) How will you evaluate results and update your strategy?

Actionable Impact Management e-book series (SoPact) (US)

This e-book series from social impact measurement software provider, SoPact, offers a step-by-step guide to implementing an impact measurement strategy. It includes four volumes that cover the journey from developing your Theory of Change, to defining your outcome metrics, to improving your capacity to interpret data and tell the story of your impact.

Building Your Measurement Framework (NPC) (UK)

This 2014 report details the NPC’s (New Philanthropy Capital) four-pillar approach to developing a measurement framework. It is the basis upon which NPC help charities to develop measurement and evaluation frameworks to assess their own impact.

Can we help you?

Contact us to learn more about how we measure our impact.