Impact measurement recommendations to create better outcomes for a charity 10 months ago

Impact measurement is one of the most significant markers of a charity’s success.

With a responsibility to report back to those invested in supporting delivery of your mission, impact measurement should be conducted concisely and often to meet obligations to the following stakeholders:

  • Donors
  • Potential supporters
  • Volunteers
  • Board of directors

Why formally measure impact?

As a charity, you must continually demonstrate that yours is a worthy cause and provide transparency around your obligation to spend donated dollars responsibly. Validation of both the immediate and wider impact of your mission will help achieve the following:  

  • Measure efficiencies within the organisation
  • Identify areas that need improvement
  • Streamline objectives and goals
  • Help set parameters for workflow
  • Build a case to encourage potential supporters

Impact measurement parameters are defined depending on the individual goals of a charity.  To evaluate existing, or implement new impact measurement protocol, here are our recommendations to get you started:

Create definitions

To measure the impact of your charity, start by getting genuine clarity around the following:

  • The organisation
  • The mission
  • Strategies
  • Activities
  • Measurement of success

Taking the time to clearly define each of those areas will help you understand the best way to achieve and evaluate impact.  

Over time, a mission and strategies may evolve without you even realising. Make sure everyone involved in delivering the mission is informed and understands who you are, not who you were.

Differentiate between outputs and outcomes

In standard reporting, data tends to stop at the outputs.

Outputs are the results of something that occurs as a consequence of an input (activity). Income received, number of education programs delivered, or number of patients helped within the healthcare sector are all outputs.

Outcomes refer to the more significant change your actions create.

While outputs form part of the broader vision and must be included in impact measurement, output leads to the outcomes which are the true measures of impact, and the information that stakeholders want to know.  

Gather data

While outcomes are individual and subjective, efficient impact measurement requires gathering and analysis of data

Quantitative and qualitative data

Quantitative data is based on numbers and will help you appeal to those who make decisions using their head rather than heart.

While outcomes aren’t data-focussed, you need an efficient data-management system to help measure the true impact on society of which quantitative data is the most significant element.

Examples of quantitative data includes:

  • Number of patients receiving lifesaving care
  • Number of animals adopted in a year
  • Number of vulnerable children sponsored
  • How much money spent implementing an education program
  • How many work hours involved
  • How many emails sent
  • How many phone calls received
  • How many events held
  • Hours of volunteer support received

While quantitative data is essential, qualitative data introduces the emotional element of your impact, which is where your focus must lie as a fundraiser.

Both quantitative and qualitative data are equally important and build an integrated picture to help stakeholders understand the wider impact of your cause. One without the other isn’t an accurate measure of your impact.

There’s no point collecting data for the sake of it. To measure impact, data will help you understand where you’re achieving and areas that aren’t working so well. With honesty and the facts, you can evolve existing and introduce new processes to better meet the needs of both the organisation and the community.

To understand how SupporterHub can help you gather data to measure your impact in the community, you can find out more here.

Tell your story

Once you have data relating to outputs and outcomes, you can then present your impact in the form of structured reporting and share your story through marketing campaigns and appeals.

To do this efficiently, you need images, testimonials, and quotes all backed up with specific data.

Impact measurement is a formal system designed to bridge the gap between charities and stakeholders.

To find out how SupporterHub can help measure your impact on society and further support you to achieve your mission, contact us today.