Measuring impact is talked about a lot in the social sector but very rarely undertaken as part of normal business activity or used effectively in communication. Possibly because the powers that be have shrouded it in mystery and overly complicated processes, such as Social Return on Investment or because it is often an afterthought undertaken at the end of a project.
But measuring value allows you to increase your understanding of the impact of your work, have a stronger communication of the value of your work to key stakeholders and improve your programme management and planning. Measuring impact can be expensive, especially if you bring in external consultants to carry out the full process. However, you can prepare yourself by introducing methods into your work that ensures you capture the right data at the right time.
There are different models and techniques used to evaluate your programme and reach SROI. The methodology discussed here is known as building the chain of impact.
Key points on process
1. Evaluation should be prepared before you start your project delivery – so think about what you want to achieve as a result of your programme and how you will measure it before you start. It is an iterative process so you can always go back and test your assumptions during the programme.
2. Develop an evaluation plan when designing services.
3. Assign measurable objectives to each stage of need – these can become your Key Performance Indicators.
4. Develop data collection methods that compliment your service – use simple methods like surveys, 10 point scales and action logs.
5. Learn as you go and amend your programme to steer it towards success.
Some questions to consider
• Who are we targeting?
• What are we planning to do?
• What are the key elements of our service?
• What quality standards do we want to meet?
• What outcomes do we want to achieve? What change do you want to see happen, for whom?
If you want to learn more about measuring impact we are running a workshop at Action for Social Enterprise on 25th November 2011.
“How demonstrating impact can grow your enterprise”
Download the programme here http://bit.ly/oEzxHi