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MEASURING SOCIAL IMPACT
Cecilie Hestbaek, NPC
The Big Connect, Tuesday 7th June 2015
NPC: TRANSFORMING THE CHARITY SECTOR
NPC works at the
impact of charities
theories of change
impact of funders
Consultancy & Think tank
‘The effect of an activity on the social fabric of the community and well-being of the
individuals and families.’
a) articulate how you think a service or intervention will have an
b) and test your thinking against the evidence you have available.
THE ESSENCE OF IMPACT MEASUREMENT:
Take 10 minutes to discuss with your neighbour why it’s important to
measure social impact and what the challenges are. Write key words on
different colour post-its.
WHY IS MEASURING IMPACT IMPORTANT?
Taken from: Rickey, B, Lumley, T and Ni Ogain, E . (2011) A Journey to Greater
Impact. New Philanthropy Capital.
CHALLENGES IN MEASUREMENT
• What worked before might not work again because the
external environment has changed
• Change can happen quickly; or it might take two
decades to come about
• A variety of external factors are beyond your
organisation’s control and you will often have no
• If you are targeting top-level decision makers, it can be
difficult to get an answer from them about why they did
(or did not) change their mind on a particular issue.
…and ensuring that you measure outcomes, not outputs.
THE FOUR PILLARS APPROACH TO
Case for impact measurement
DEVELOPING AND USING
A THEORY OF CHANGE
WHAT IS A THEORY OF CHANGE?
Links activities intermediate outcomes final outcomes
A description of how activities lead to outcomes
- Clarifies what the activities aim to
achieve and how
- Provides the case for why achieving
intermediate outcomes is important
- Provides a structure for identifying
what can be measured
HOW TO REPRESENT A THEORY OF CHANGE
Planning Triangle Logic Model Outcomes Chain
However you represent your theory of change, it should be supported by a written description.
Clients’ ability to support
their children's healthy
Clients’ emotional or
Mother / Child
for self care
EXAMPLE (SIMPLIFIED) THEORY OF CHANGE
MOTHERS’ COUNSELLING SERVICE
Activities Intermediate Outcomes Final outcome
• Take 2 minutes to think about 1-2 social outcomes that are central to
what you do.
• Write them down on a piece of paper.
• As we go through the rest of the presentation, try to reflect on the
measurement of that/those outcomes. How would you apply the theory
and measure those?
Categories of outcomes include: ‘soft’ outcomes, such as attitudes,
knowledge, skills, behaviour; and ‘hard’ outcomes, such as employment,
educational attainment, reduced reoffending etc.
PRIORITISE OUTCOMES THAT:
• are directly influenced (rather than indirectly supported)
• are important / material to the mission
• are not too costly to measure
• will produce credible data
CHOOSING THE RIGHT
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
• Comparing the world with your
organisation in it with what the
world would be like without it.
• Control group
LEVELS OF EVIDENCE
SOURCES AND TOOLS
• Quantitative data (numbers)
• Statistical estimates
• Prevalence of views,
attitudes and experiences
• Admin data or questionnaires
(paper, web, etc.)
• Qualitative data (words)
• Detailed understanding
• In-depth interviewing
(telephone or face-to-face)
• Stakeholders’ views
Proportion of beneficiaries
whose outcomes have
improved, and by how
What did beneficiaries
think, did it make a
difference to them? How?
How could it have been
DIFFERENT TYPES OF EVIDENCE
Collect data that matters, and work together
squares into circles
& don’t collect
INSPIRING IMPACT: MEASURING UP! AND
THE IMPACT HUB
• online, step-by-step self-assessment tool
• looks at the way you plan, evidence, communicate and
learn from the difference your work makes
The Inspiring Impact Hub
• pulls together resources relevant to improving impact
• enables users to search and filter results according to their
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS