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Impact group: charities could allocate percentage of funding for impact measurement

Impact group: charities could allocate percentage of funding for impact measurement
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Impact group: charities could allocate percentage of funding for impact measurement7

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 23 Jan 2012

The Inspiring Impact Group, a coalition of voluntary sector bodies seeking to provide collective leadership on measuring impact over the next 10 years, is considering encouraging funders to allocate at least 5 per cent of funding to evaluation and measurement.

The group, which includes NCVO, Acevo and Charities Evaluation Services (CES), met for the first time this month. Andy Gregg, chief executive of CES, said the group was thinking about encouraging funders to make sure 5 - 10 per cent of their funding is spent on the evaluation and measurement of that funding.  

Speaking about the meeting, Gregg said it was the first time that everybody in the sector had come together to provide a better leadership on impact:

"Some people had not collaborated well in the past," he said. "New Philanthropy Capital has done a good job of co-ordinating it."

He said the group hoped to get initial funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Office for Civil Society, which are also part of the group. It also plans to get small amounts from other funders. The group's next meeting is due in June.

CES has also had its first meeting this month to discuss its new Jargonbusters website, which will aim to provide guidance on terms around impact measurement.

Gregg said the group planned to meet every 6 months to refresh the website: “We’ve decided we are not going to be a thesaurus of terms,” he said. “But we’ll signpost definitions which are already online.”

Those involved in the work on Jargonbusters include Northern Rock and the Association of Charitable Foundations.

 

David S. Heller
Director of Global Development
Newdea, Inc.
8 Mar 2012

We came upon this article a bit late, but wanted to add to the thoughtful comments that were already submitted. It is our belief that measuring impact is in fact the best way to assure that NGO dollars are producing the highest results per dollar invested and positively impacting the greatest number of people. And while the cost of measuring impact was previously very costly and could have easily resulted in 5%-10% of total revenue, current technology and software has considerably reduced this cost; in many cases well below 1%. And because the results of measurement ultimately increase the value of each invested dollars, the benefits the result far exceed the initial cost.

Ken Noble
24 Jan 2012

If someone donated £1,000,000 to our charity I'd be very hard-pushed to explain to them why I wanted to spend £50,000 of it to measure it's impact. I'd rather spend the money on increasing the impact.
Perhaps I'm just naive but that's my approach.

Martin Haigh
CEO
4mobile donation
24 Jan 2012

Measuring impact is an excellent goal and is to be endorsed. But it's very hard to do and can be subjective.
Agreeing on the best way to measure so that all charities can follow the same formula would be prudent. Encouraging budget spend before these benchmark
Tests are agreed could be a waste of money

Dan Sutch
Head of Development Research
Nominet Trust
24 Jan 2012

I'd argue that 5% of a project/intervention funding should be for evaluation and reflection (in the same way often project management accounts for up to 10% of the budget). This isn't to say that 5% should be for reporting of outcomes, but that we should value the process of evaluation and reflection and rightly accept that this has a cost/time implication.

Carl Allen
25 Jan 2012
Response to [Dan Sutch]

Evaluation plus measurement at 7% and management at 7% adds up to 14% as a midrange figure.

14% of funding as good practice is too high for projects that are on a well beaten track. It is called a ripoff occuring at the management level.

Carl Allen
23 Jan 2012

I could understand a couple of million up front to fund a sector exercise but not a 5-10% drain in perpetuity as good practice.

David Walker
Director
Getstats
23 Jan 2012

Let's not assume impact measurement is easy - for it to happen more widely and intensively we're going to have to help charity trustees and executives become more adept, for example, at collecting and crunching data. The Charity Finance Directors Group is looking in parallel at the capacity of trustees. We think everyone could usefully be a bit more statistically literate and are working up tools and advice

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