Resources » Topic » Charities and Civil Society

Books and GuidesCase StudiesEvent ReportsExternal Databases and ResourcesImpact ReportsOpinion and CommentToolsTraining and CoursesVideosWorking Papers and Research

Books and Guides

NPC believes in impact measurement as a way for charities and funders to increase their effectiveness. It helps organisations improve what they do and deliver the best results for their beneficiaries. NPC’s four pillar approach by Anne Kazimirski and David Pritchard provides clear and practical guidance on developing an impact measurement framework.

Published by: , , 2014


The Difference is a magazine that launched by Simon McKeon in 2011. The Difference is used as a strategy for organising fundraising and corporate sponsorship for charities that work in the areas of disadvantage covered in the publication.

Since 2007, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting has completed over 400 projects with over 200 organisations across employment, education, community services, health and indigenous affairs. The SVA Consulting Quarterly brings together what they have learned from their work and the insights they have gained in new practices, novel methodologies and fresh wisdom.

Published in March 2014, this detailed guidance covers:
-What is social value?
-What is covered by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
-Requirements on local authorities
-How voluntary organisations can demonstrate social value
-How the Compact and social value relate to each other
The briefing is intended to be easy to understand and provides a number of practical case studies and practical actions to take.

This is an except from Measuring and Improving Social Impacts: A Guide for nonprofits, companies, and impact investors by Marc J. Epstein and Kristi Yuthas. All organisations have social impacts: some are positive and some negative. Measuring and Improving Social Impacts is about how you can learn to make decisions that will improve the positive social impact of companies, foundations, nonprofits, and impact investors.

This book addresses the five most fundamental questions faced by companies, and nonprofits, and investors seeking to maximise their social impact:

- What Will You Invest?
- What Problem Will You Address?
- What Steps Will You Take?
- How Will You Measure Success?
- How Can You Increase Impact?

Making Sense of Data and Information in the Social Sector, from Markets for Good, is a collection of selected readings from the previous year with ideas about how to upgrade the system for sharing knowledge in the social sector. The b-Book provides a range of perspectives on the most critical data-related challenges facing the social sector, and how these challenges can be addressed. Posts were chosen for their high readership, topic diversity, and thought leadership. The authors debate new and recurring hurdles in the social sector, like capacity and capital constraints; how qualitative data, including stories and beneficiary insights, can be incorporated into data-driven decision processes; and big-, medium-, and small-data management.

Knowing and Showing Your Outcomes and Impacts is a guide for any community, voluntary or charity organisation. Its principles are also readily transferable to social enterprises. It may also be of interest to those who work with any such organisations, including statutory and philanthropic funders, investors, private companies practising corporate social responsibility and consultants/advisors. Although the guide focuses on the Irish experience, its content may also be applicable in an international context.

The Practical Guide is a resource that distills best practice in impact measurement into five easy-to-understand steps and provides practical tips and recommendations for how to implement impact measurement at the level of the social investor and in the social sector organisations that they support.

This guide from Quality Matters provides an introduction to three commonly used methods for planning impact measurement for social service organisations: Logic Model, Theory of Change and Social Return on Investment (SROI). The aim of the guide is to provide readers with sufficient information to understand these models and select one that will most suit the needs of their organisation.

The CES Resource Guide: Evaluating outcomes and impact from the Charities Evaluation Services contains over 130 online and published guides, tools, discussion papers and fact sheets on all aspects of evaluation. It is designed as an interactive guide, and is a great go to resource for anyone involved with monitoring and evaluation.

The free guide contains the following dedicated sections:

- General guides and introductions to evaluation
- Assessing outcomes and impact
- Evaluation approaches and methods
- Sub-sector specific guidance
- Creative tools for engaging a range of stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation
- Useful websites

This handbook authored by Jaan Aps from Stories for Impact and the Estonia Social Enterprise Network has recently provoked discussions in Estonia among financiers of Estonian civil society development, including The National Foundation of Civil Society (NFCS) and Open Estonia Foundation.

This short handbook by Juliet Michaelson on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.

This presentation from the British Council demonstrates how they evaluate impact. It includes indicators, a logic model and examples of data collection.

This paper, by Andrea Westall for NAVCA’s Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit, provides an overview of the different tools and approaches that are being used and developed for measuring and evidencing how charities and community
groups create social value, and discusses the implications for these organisations.

The Good Analyst’s Guidelines for How to Measure and Report Social Impact are aimed at organisations looking to engage with social impact measurement. They provide a lucid walk-through of the key processes involved in creating an impact measurement system, and set out an outline for an impact report.

The stories charities and social enterprises tell about the difference they make can engage, inform and inspire stakeholders. Clearly communicating the impact of your work is important. This document, developed for the sector, by the sector, offers a guide to help you think about how you should communicate your impact, and what you should communicate. This document sets out principles of good impact reporting, to help charities and social enterprises tell their own story about impact.

By using these principles to demonstrate their impact, charities and social enterprises can have a strong influence on how they are perceived. They can help to shift the prevailing focus away from concerns about administration costs or chief executives’ salaries, and towards what really matters: the difference they make in people’s lives.

New statutory guidance on the Best Value Duty from the Department for Communities and Local Government sets out some reasonable expectations of the way authorities should work with voluntary and community groups and small businesses when facing difficult funding decisions. It falls under the policy of “Making local councils more transparent and accountable to local people”.

This guide written by Alan Kay from the Social Audit Network includes reference to the range of frameworks and methods developed to help organisations explain and account for their performance and impact. It is a “roadmap” to the social accounting and audit process and has been written for social enterprises, social economy organisations and voluntary sector organisations that wish to regularly account and report on their social, economic and environmental performance and impact.

The Little Blue Book, by Belinda Vernon and John Copps is NPC’s concise and practical guide to analysing charities, for charities and funders. The guide contains examples of how charities and funders benefit from analysis, and explains NPC’s charity analysis framework, which looks at how charities can assess their effectiveness in six areas:

- Activities: Do the charity’s activities address a genuine need?
- Results: Can it demonstrate results of what it has achieved?
- Leadership: Do trustees and management provide high quality leadership?
- People and resources: Does it use staff, volunteers and resources well?
- Finances: Are the finances sound?
- Ambition: Is it ambitious to solve social problems?

This report from The Good Childhood Inquiry was commissioned by The Children’s Society. The report, authored by Richard Layard and Judy Dunn, was the first independent national inquiry into childhood, started in 2006. Evidence was contributed by over 30,000 people, of which 20,000 were children, from polls, research and focus groups. The report includes recommendations from the panel to parents, teachers, the Government, the media and society in general.

The Good Enough Guide helps busy field workers to address these questions. It offers a set of basic guidelines on how to be accountable to local people and measure programme impact in emergency situations. Its ‘good enough’ approach emphasises simple and practical solutions and encourages the user to choose tools that are safe, quick, and easy to implement.

This pocket guide presents some tried and tested methods for putting impact measurement and accountability into practice throughout the life of a project. It is aimed at humanitarian practitioners, project officers and managers with some experience
in the field, and draws on the work of field staff, NGOs, and inter-agency initiatives, including Sphere, ALNAP, HAP International, and People In Aid.

The Good Enough Guide was developed by the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB). The ECB is a collaborative effort by CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Save the Children, and World Vision International.

This is the first catalog of methods for the Double Bottom Line Project that for-profit and nonprofit social ventures and enterprises can use to assess the social impact of their activities. It analyses feasibility and credibility of 9 methods and provides examples of them in use:

- Theories of Change
- Balanced Scorecard
- Acumen Fund Scorecard
- Social Return Assessment
- AtKisson Compass Assessment
- Ongoing Assessment of Social Impact
- Social Return on Investment
- Benefit-Cost Analysis
- Poverty and Social Impact Analysis

Case Studies

PHINEO analyses non-profit organisations in terms of their effectiveness and their projects’ potential to make a lasting impact.Their special analytical method takes all of the components of philanthropic work into account. They focus on organisation-related and project-related criteria geared toward the needs and expectations of social investors. Download an overview of their approach in Phineo: Doing Good - Achieving The Best.

This is a State of the Art Review of Big Data written by Duncan Ross for Nominet Trust. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in using Big Data and data science to improve society. Big Data can provide social organisations with opportunities to improve and reshape their services. It represents a combination of a series of trends: the rapid growth in data creation, the ability to store this data at a reasonable price, and the ability to apply sophisticated techniques to it in order to extract knowledge.

‘Exceeding Expectations’ is a report by Kevin Gulliver and Dawn Prentice from Human City institute (HCi) for Trident Social Investment Group on a comprehensive set of social accounts. The report tracks the community impact of Trident using a triangulated approach to evaluation of economic and social value based on HCI’s ‘Measuring-Up’ methodology. It shows how social landlords can measure their wider impact beyond the bottom line. More importantly, the report clearly illustrates how economic and social value can be measured and presented in a highly collaborative way with extensive involvement of stakeholders, including partners and residents. It also represents as case study of a major social landlord group that includes housing associations, charities and social enterprises. The results fed into the development of Trident’s Social Investment Strategy.

This publication from CFG, NPC and ACEVO, is not a ‘how-to’ guide. The publication aims to bring the Principles of Good Impact Reporting to life through first-hand accounts and case studies from a range of charities and social enterprises that believe in the importance of demonstrating their impact. It offers some perspectives, tips and advice from stakeholders across the sector.

In 2012, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) commissioned NPC as part of a pioneering project to explore how providers can better measure the effectiveness of their work to rehabilitate offenders.

This report, by Benedict Rickey, Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Tris Lumley from NPC, draws on six charities that are at the forefront of impact measurement in the UK to show that impact measurement is both worthwhile and possible. These case studies and findings will be useful for those who are trying to make the case for impact measurement, those who want to set up or improve a measurement system and those who want to help charities measure their impact well.

Published by: , , 2011


This publication from Nina Mguni and Nicola Bacon at the Young Foundation presents three case studies of the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM). The report consists of three parts: Defining local wellbeing and resilience, Constructing the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM), Applying WARM in three case study local areas and Selecting indicators and creating the measurement framework.

Event Reports

Jeudi 20 mars 2014, l’Agence nouvelle des solidarités actives (Ansa) a animé une table-rondesur le thème de « L’expérimentation sociale à l’épreuve du terrain ». Cette soirée a rassemblé tous les acteurs – institutionnels, politiques, associatifs, universitaires ou du secteur privé – que le sujet intéresse, interpelle et questionne. Cet ouvrage a été réalisé par Sylvie Le Bars, Marion Prigent, Ben Rickey, Claire-Selma Aïtout avec la participation de Marion Drouault et Sylvie Hanocq.

SIAA’s 2013 annual conference, Beyond Measurement, took place on December 10th at ESSEC Business School in France. This publication provides reflections on the day and access to further resources.

On March 26, 2003, The Goldman Sachs Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation hosted over fifty funders at Goldman Sachs offices in New York to discuss the issues surrounding assessing social impact and social return on investment (“SROI”). We were pleased with the high level of interest in this topic and the insights articulated during the day’s discussions. Our focus was on two thematic fields: education/youth development and community development/employment.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold:
- To convene a cross-section of charitable and double bottom line funders to discuss and learn from various approaches to assessing social impact and social return on investment in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors
- To begin a dialogue on developing a common set of expectations for metrics or standards that could be used in the education/youth development and community development/employment sectors to assess the social impact of philanthropic and other social purpose investments.

London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC) and the Social Impact Analysts
Association (SIAA) jointly hosted an event to explore, on a
practical level, the challenges which social purpose organisations face in
assessing their social impact. This event report provides an overview
of the presentations, discussions and learning from the evening. It also sets
out a number of recommendations and follow up actions that emerged from
the discussion and evaluation of the event.

This report synthesises the learning from the first convening facilitated by the Social Research Unit at Dartington and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2011 on scaling what works in improving maternal health and reducing infant mortality in the developing world.

These slides summarise emerging lessons from several discussions on how to scale impact convened by the Social Research Unit at Dartington with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They are the product of the brilliance of many experts whose discussions are synthesised in two publications entitles Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale Part 1 and 2.

This report synthesises the learning from the first convening facilitated by the Social Research Unit at Dartington and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2011 on scaling what works in improving maternal health and reducing infant mortality in the developing world.

In September 2011, 30 leaders in the field of social impact measurement came convened at an Impact Summit, where they discussed how to embed impact measurement throughout the UK social sector. This report by Benedict Rickey and Tris Lumley from NPC, and Matthew Pike from View, sets out the results of that discussion. It sows the seeds for the development of Inspiring Impact.

External Databases and Resources

Crisis commissions external researchers to independently evaluate our projects and the services they offer, as well as to produce good practice guides on a range of topics.

Big Society Capital provides guidance, best practice advice and an outcomes matrix for social impact measurement for investors and social sector organisations.

Intentionality CIC’s resources centre is a space where you can learn more about Intentionality and it’s work, as well as discovering excellent examples of social impact measurement and reporting from charities and social enterprises. It includes impact reports, guides and case studies.

The Impact and Effectiveness Hub from The Guardian contains articles relating to insight, advice and best practice from the community and is part of the Voluntary Sector Network.

Learning About Our Impact and An Introduction to Impact Measurement from The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) are both available from BIG’s Thinking About Our Impact page. Learning About Our Impact is a report on BIG’s impact in the last year. An introduction to Impact Measurement is a handy guide for those new to impact measurement.

More than 6400 publications have now been selected by TSRC for inclusion in the Third Sector Knowledge Portal - an easy-to-use online library of research, evidence, and analysis.

It has been developed by TSRC in partnership with the British Library and the Big Lottery Fund, and brings together over 6000 works such as: impact reports from third sector organisations; academic research projects; government studies; and more, in one collection of downloads, links and summaries.

The Agence Nouvelle des Solidarités Actives is a French non-profit organisation that puts into place local, experimental and innovative actions to fight against poverty and exclusion.

The Learning for Social Impact site, part of McKinsey’s Social Sector Office, was developed to help funders, their grantees, and other essential partners achieve social change by offering best practices, guidelines, tools, insights, and practical help in developing assessment plans that drive social impact.

Information is included on what social impact assessment is, their perspective on learning driven assessment, designing a learning driven assessment and voices from the field.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfill their potential and make the most of their talents.

The EEF exists to fund, develop and evaluate cost-effective and replicable projects which address educational disadvantage.

Their focus is on supporting projects that show promising evidence of having a measurable impact on attainment or a directly related outcome. We are interested in testing projects’ effectiveness through robust independent evaluations, wherever possible as randomized controlled trials. If they are shown to have an impact, they should be able to be replicated and scaled up to improve outcomes for other disadvantaged pupils.

Venture Philanthropy and Impact Investing from the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) is a compilation of resources on venture philanthropy, grant philanthropy, social investment and impact investing.

Guides to Giving Well is a resource centre from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors that provides guidance, case studies and tools for thoughtful, effective philanthropy.

Bond’s Effectiveness Programme, Effectiveness & Transparency, provides practical help for NGOs to prove and improve their effectiveness through tools, insights and support. Five ways the Effectiveness Programme can help:

Health Check: Determine your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses
Impact Builder: Get indicators and tools to measure the effectiveness of your projects
Evidence Principles: Assess and enhance the quality of your evidence
Transparency: Improve trust and transparency through openness
Value for Money: Understand what it means for your organisation

The SRS suggests a structure for the impact-orientated reporting of social activities. The standard aims at improving transparency, accountability, and comparability in the sector while at the same time reducing complexity and resource requirements for social organisations. While the focus of the standard is on impact reporting, a report according to SRS also covers the fundamental elements of reporting usually found in financial statements, from organisational structure to financial information.

Inspiring Impact is a programme run by a collaboration of UK voluntary sector organisations and aims to change the way the UK voluntary sector thinks about impact. They have developed a range of resources including the Code of Good Impact Practice, Funders’ principles and drivers of good impact practice, Blueprint for shared measurement and more.

CES has a wide range of tools and resources available on their website to support charities with evaluation, performance improvement, monitoring outcomes, and implementing quality standards.

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) provides useful policy discussion and thought pieces on social value in the UK, including ‘Putting the Social Value Act into action’, by Chris White MP, social value surveys, blogs and videos. Contributors include the Third Sector Research Centre, Big Lottery Fund and others.

Monitoring and evaluation are essential to judge effectiveness in policy engagement. However, in the complex work of policy influence, monitoring and evaluation can be highly challenging. Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) is working at the sharp edge of Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) own monitoring and evaluation systems to help overcome these challenges. On their website you can find case studies and examples of their evaluations, practical tools and theoretical frameworks and approaches for monitoring, evaluation and learning.

Participatory Methods provides resources to generate ideas and action for inclusive development and social change. It explains what participatory methods are, where and how they are used, and their problems and potentials. It focuses on participatory approaches to programme design, monitoring and evaluation; to learning, research and communication in organisations, networks and communities; and to citizen engagement in political processes.

The Alliance for Useful Evidence is a partnership of The Big Lottery Fund, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Nesta. They are an open-access network of more than 1,600 individuals from across government, universities, charities, business and local authorities in the UK and internationally. The website includes blog and publications about research and useful evidence.

The Dartington Social Research Unit is a charity that seeks to improve designing and delivering services for children and their families by promoting the increased use of evidence of what works. Their work spans education, health, social care and criminal justice systems. Their work involves data on children’s needs, information about what works, cost-benefit analysis and how money is spent at the local level. Projects include Investing in Children, A Better Start, Design and Refine and Into One Place.

Proving and Improving is a quality and impact toolkit for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprise for exploring practical ways to measure their impacts and demonstrate the quality of what they do and how they operate.

Tools include AA1000AS, The Big Picture, Co-operativesUK, CESPIs, DTA Fit for Purpose, Eco-mapping, EFQM Model, EMAS, GRI Guidelines, Investors in People, ISO 9001:2008, Local Multiplier 3, PQASSO, Prove It!, Quality First, SIMPLE, Social Accounting, S.E Balanced Scorecard, SROI, Star Social Firm, Third Sector Performance Dashboard, Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit.

Proving and Improving is supported by Charities Evaluation Services’ National Performance Programme, which is funded by Capacitybuilders’ and is led by Charities Evaluation Services (CES) in partnership with acevo, the New Economics Foundation (nef), New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and Voice4Change England.

In 1996, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV), at the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Boulder, designed and launched a national youth prevention initiative to identify and replicate violence, delinquency and drug prevention programs that have been demonstrated as effective. The Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development project identifies prevention and intervention programs that meet a strict scientific standard of program effectiveness.

Impact Reports

Crisis’ latest report, by Nicholas Pleace and Joanne Bretherton from the University of York, presents interim findings from a major three year independent evaluation of Skylight services for homeless people.

Making their lives better: now, tomorrow and every day is Action for Children’s Impact Report 2014. This report draws on a wide range of evidence, using both quantitative and qualitative data and includes findings from independent evaluations, a variety of measurement tools and services funded through social investment.

The Accountability Lab is an independent, non-profit organisation that acts as a catalyst to make power-holders responsible in the developing world. The Lab acts as a sounding board, listening to, analysing and reflecting upon accountability concerns; as an independent interface, engaging relevant actors across contexts and issues; and as an operational hub, catalysing innovative, collaborative and sustainable accountability practices and communities. Through this approach, the Lab bolsters efforts to address the causes rather than the symptoms of poverty, exclusion and insecurity.

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2014 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

FRC Group has been producing impact reports, social reports and sustainability reports every year since 1999. FRC Group is a leading social business, running commercial businesses that produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives. A selection of their reports are available to download on their website.

Independent research from the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York has commended the mental health services at Crisis for enhancing well-being and helping homeless people towards work and social integration.

Send a Cow works to give communities and families the hope and the means to secure their own futures from the land. Read their impact report to learn more about their impact, how they work, and how they carried out the research.

UP Global is a non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities.

Opportunity International empowers people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities. Their 2013 Social Performance Report documents their journey of transforming their social mission into practice.

The Good Analyst provides impact rating and reporting for social investment products. The underlying methodology has undergone three years of active application and refinement, and has been applied internally to assess over 100 impact investments across a wide range of sectors and scales. For transparency, The Good Analyst reports are made publicly available. Social Impact reports are available for Scope’s Social Bond Programme for 2012 and 2013.

This report gives an overview of Student Hubs impact during 2012-2013. Student Hubs is a growing network of ‘Hubs’ in UK universities supporting student involvement in social action. They are currently working with university students in Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Imperial, SOAS, Southampton, Warwick and on national student initiatives.

This is a social impact report by Gingerbread in partnership with nef consulting, the social enterprise of nef (the new economics foundation). Together they developed a theory of change in 2010 which enabled them to build an outcomes framework to measure these changes and assess how much is due to Gingerbread’s work, and a Social Return on Investment (SROI) model that would enable them to put a monetary value on this work.

Action for Children’s annual Impact Report demonstrates the difference that their services have made to children and young people’s lives over the past year in the UK. The report uses key findings from external and independent evaluation and research.

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis from nef consulting was commissioned by Christian Aid for the Filling the Gaps project in Kenya. This project designed to improve the demand-side factors necessary to achieve the successful adherence of PWHIV (people living with HIV) to their ARTs (anti-retroviral therapies) thus improving their quality of life.

Future First’s vision is that every state secondary school and college should be supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community that helps each one to do more for its students.

This report gives an overview of GiveMeTap’s impact in 2013. GiveMeTap is dedicated to providing people in Africa access to clean water and reducing the consumption of one-use plastic bottles in the UK.

This research study, carried out by Rick Rijsdijk of the Social Value Lab, examines the impact of the Vineburgh Development, a phased £37 million project being delivered over five years by Cunninghame Housing Association. Based on a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis, the research shows the considerable impact that housing led physical regeneration can have on the health, confidence, pride and general wellbeing of tenants. It has revealed significant positive effects not just on the tenants of these new homes, but also on the wider community of Vineburgh and other local stakeholders.

This is a summary of the research report by Vanessa Wilkes and Professor David Mullins from Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham was commissioned by HACT. It provides an up-to-date picture of the measurement tools being used by housing organisations to measure the social impact of community investment activities, showing wide variation in the approaches used.

While there is general recognition of the importance of measuring impact, there are also concerns about cost, approach and potential duplication. The report will enable more sharing of evidence about different approaches to impact measurement and what works in terms of community investment.

This research report by Vanessa Wilkes and Professor David Mullins from Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham was commissioned by HACT. It provides an up-to-date picture of the measurement tools being used by housing organisations to measure the social impact of community investment activities, showing wide variation in the approaches used.

While there is general recognition of the importance of measuring impact, there are also concerns about cost, approach and potential duplication. The report will enable more sharing of evidence about different approaches to impact measurement and what works in terms of community investment.

United Way Australia’s first Community Impact Report documents their community impact in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2012, focusing on three priority areas for impact: education, income and health. They developed a framework for representing the varying scale, complexity and nature of their work with input from the Centre for Social Impact.

Citizens Advice aims to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.

This report from the British Red Cross by nef consulting (new economics foundation) is an independent economic analysis of their work with five individuals who received support from the British Red Cross. It aims to show how preventative services deliver savings for statutory partners. They assessed the costs which could have been incurred by the state to treat and deliver care to these five people had the Red Cross’ services not been there.

This impact report concerns the difference Action for Children services make to the lives and life chances of the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people across the UK. Much of the evidence in this report comes from evaluations and research findings from reviews carried out during the 18 months before March 2011.

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2011 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

The Outward Bound Trust provides young people with the opportunity to make new friends, to learn new skills and to achieve in new ways. These experiences are directly focused on improving the aspects of young people’s lives that underpin their well-being. Their 2009 impact report outlines the continuing journey they are taking to both prove and improve their effectiveness as a charity.

Opinion and Comment

In his lecture at the the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), NPC’s chief executive Dan Corry explains how charitable organisations must spearhead innovation and effectiveness to increase their ability to drive change in society.

In this blog, Doug Taylor, CEO of United Way Australia, writes about Collective Impact and how he sees it as a useful guide in tackling a complex social problem for a population group in a local community.

This blog by Tamsyn Roberts from Cabinet Office UK for the Civil Service Quarterly provides clear explanation of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and how they work. It includes case studies and a handy diagram.

Tris Lumley Head of Development at NPC and trustee of SIAA talks about embedding impact measurement in practice.

Eleri Morgan Thomas, Director Service Impact, for Mission Australia, talks about the challenges of measuring impact within a large charity in a blog for the Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA).


The Simple Wheel provides tools for nonprofits to measure their impact, and for donors to better inform their giving.

The outcomes matrix is a tool to help social investment financial intermediaries (SIFI’s) and social sector organisations to plan, measure and learn about their social impact. It aims to develop common ground and language for social investment and impact assessment in the social sector. The outcomes and measures are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive but should provide a helpful starting point for organisations to consider their social impact.

PerformWell is a collaborative effort initiated by Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions in the United States. PerformWell provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human services professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance. Information in PerformWell leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field. By providing information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes, PerformWell helps human services practitioners deliver more effective social programs.

The Family Star Evaluation is a report is an independent evaluation of the Family Star outcomes tool. It seeks to engage parents and children in the work they need to do to change family life and measure and record their progress. The Family Star is highly commended by Charities Evaluation Services (CES).

Training and Courses

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania’s undergraduate degree program offers business and more — an innovative program that combines business and liberal arts on one Ivy League campus. Social impact courses for undergraduates span areas such as health care management, finance, management, economics and public policy, legal studies and business ethics. A flexible schedule allows students to pursue academic interests within Wharton and beyond.

Wharton’s undergraduate program also offers a secondary concentration in Social Impact & Responsibility, housed in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics department.

Courses include:
- Corporate Responsibility and Ethics
- Health Care Quality and Outcomes: Measurement and Management
- International Business Ethics
- Knowledge for Social Impact — Analyzing Current Issues and Approaches
- Social Impact & Responsibility

The Charities Evaluation Services (CES) are leading experts on providing high quality training to help you to develop your work on monitoring, evaluation and quality improvement. CES offers a variety of training courses including courses on PQASSO, Theory of Change, outcomes, impact measurement and practical skills.

The Fund Raising School, an international leader in fundraising training and professional development, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, a nationally ranked leader in nonprofit management education, offer the Program Evaluation for Mission Impact course at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It is one of four required courses for the new Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership. This course focuses on the techniques and application of evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of nonprofit programs.

Cornell University offers various courses that focus or touch on social entrepreneurship or innovation. The list includes Social entrepreneurs, innovators and problem solvers, Social Justice and the City: Preparation for Urban Fieldwork, Making a Difference: By Design and Leadership in Nonprofit Environments

The Australian School of Business at the University of New South Australia offers a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact focuses on building the professional capacity of social managers and entrepreneurs of the future, across the corporate, government and third (not-for-profit) sectors, enhancing their capacity to lead organisations creating social and environmental value and to operate in a changed cross-sector social landscape where the dynamism of the market is also directed at social innovation.

Cass Business School at City University London offers PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy & Social Investment. There is a growing recognition, that in addition to a common body of knowledge all managers need in order to succeed, there are critical specialist areas for managers which provide a sound understanding of all aspects of their work and a springboard for further career progression.

This charity degree course is the first of its kind in the UK and Europe and reflects the increasing interest in funding and the need for transparency and accountability. Students will develop a clear understanding of the practices and principles of funding.

Created for professionals in nonprofit organisations, this graduate-level certificate from Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota offers specific knowledge and skills related to human resource development, organisational evaluation, finance, conflict resolution, and decision-making. The Nonprofit Management Certificate curriculum is designed for individuals who do not have formal training in the business aspects of managing a nonprofit organisation.

The University of Delaware offers a Nonprofit Management Certificate Course. Started in 1990, this 16-week course teaches participants how to handle the key management challenges facing nonprofit organisations: Strategic planning, technology, financial management, human resources, fostering leadership, lobbying and advocacy, designing and evaluating programmes, marketing and fundraising. To date, over 370 people have successfully completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Course. This course runs in the spring (February-May) and meets each Thursday (8:30 am-4:30 pm).

The Verbandsmanagement Institut (VMI) at the Universitat Freibeug/Schweiz in the Czech Republic offers an elective module in Performance Measurement in Nonprofit Organisations, which provides an overview on theories and concepts of performance management in private NPOs.

The Centre for Social Impact is a collaboration of four universities: the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Western Australia and The University of Melbourne. Their mission is to improve the delivery of beneficial social impact in Australia through research, teaching, measurement and the promotion of public debate.


Michael Weatherhead from new economics foundation (nef) talks about a research project carried out for Christian Aid on their Filling the Gaps project in Kenya, funded by Comic Relief, using a Social Return On Investment (SROI) approach.

This is the conference video from SIAA’s annual conference on 10th December 2013, at ESSEC Business School in France.

In this TED talk, Toby Eccles from Social Finance UK explains Social Impact Bonds (SIB), which help fund initiatives with a social goal through private money and the government pays back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work. He discusses the SIB in Peterborough where it is being used to reduce reoffending rates and in Essex where they are supporting children in care.

This video from Endeva explains the market research process for Endeva’s Solar energy kiosk project in Madagascar using interactive activities to gather information from the local population. Endeva are experts in market research in developing countries, taking an empirically grounded approach to inclusive business.

Working Papers and Research

This report from Inspiring Impact and NPC reviews developments in shared measurement following the publication of Inspiring Impact’s Blueprint for shared measurement and presents our framework for assessing if a sector is an appropriate candidate for shared measurement.

The framework sets criteria, including indicators of drivers and barriers to shared measurement, that can be used to review and grade sectors based on three core factors:

- the sector and its infrastructure;
- current evidence and measurement approaches; and
- the momentum for shared measurement.

Crisis’ report by Julie Rugg, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, presents the findings from an evaluation of the Private Rented Sector Access Development Programme which began in 2010 and was devised by Crisis, working with and funded by the DCLG. The programme funded a total of 153 schemes across England.

This document provides an update on implementation of the UK Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

The Social Value Act came into force on 31 January 2013 and requires commissioners to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits when procuring services. This report outlines how commissioners have responded to the act during its first year, and looks at the government’s plans to advance social value in the future.

Briefing 47: Barriers to employment from the Centre for Mental Health presents what works for people with mental health problems. Paid work is essential for the wellbeing and financial security for many of us. However, for those with mental health problems who require extra support there are numerous barriers to attaining employment. This report looks at what interventions work as well as where gaps exist in evidence-based interventions and what might be tested to develop that evidence. It includes models such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and some provided by the Work Programme and Work Choice.

Social impact bonds have attracted much attention in recent years. But there is a concern that there is a limited number of investors prepared to supply the capital for future bonds. Allia developed its Future for Children (FfC) bond to test the retail market’s appetite for investing in a social impact bond. The bond was structured around a social programme to help children on the edge of care. NPC evaluated the bond, and the results of the evaluation are detailed in this report.

The report by Charlotte Ravenscroft at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) looks at how a small group of UK charitable funders use and share evidence in practice, particularly how they find their evidence, use this evidence and share the evidence to inform the future decisions of others - funders, practitioners, and policymakers.

Charities and commissioners increasingly see collaboration as a way to access new funding, grow and improve services. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To avoid the risks, charities need to understand what makes collaboration a success. NPC and Impetus have joined forces to explore collaboration because they believe it has the potential to improve the sector’s collective impact. This report by Angela Kail and Rob Abercrombie highlights some of the less talked-about issues that connect collaboration with social impact.

The Outcomes Star is a case-management and outcomes-measurement tool developed by Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise in the UK. This guide provides a practical approach to implementing the Outcomes Star that will ensure quality and consistency.

The Impact Investor Project was established in 2012 as a two-year research partnership between InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, CASE at Duke University, and ImpactAssets. The goal was simple: supplant the guesswork and conjecture in impact investing with solid evidence of high performance and, in the process, expose the concrete practices of outstanding funds for use as the foundation for a more sophisticated and successful market.

Impact Investing 2.0 profiles twelve funds who work in vastly different sectors, from microfinance in India to sustainable property in the UK, and have accordingly pursued very different investment strategies and approaches to social impact.Their success across such a broad set of parameters offers many lessons for the industry and beyond.

This paper by Ruth Puttick and Joe Ludlow introduces the Nesta Impact Investments Fund and the standards of evidence they use to ensure their investments make a positive social impact.

Making an impact by David Pritchard, Eibhlin Ni Ogain and Tris Lumley from NPC, offers the first representative picture of the UK charity sector’s response to the challenge of impact measurement. NPC surveyed 1,000 charities with incomes over £10,000 to understand what has changed in charities’ impact measurement practices, the drivers behind measuring impact, and the benefits and challenges that it brings.The report identifies steps to be taken to improve the practice of impact measurement, fund impact measurement itself, advise charities on how to use the data, advance policy and facilitate shared outcome frameworks.

E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd prepared Accelerating Impact: Achievements, Challenges and What’s Next in Building the Impact Investing Industry for The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. It includes sections on Impact Investing: What It Is and Why It Matters, Achievements and Challenges: What’s Happened So Far, and What Hasn’t, Opportunities and Directions: What’s Next?

The Framework of Outcomes for Young People by Bethia McNeil, Neil Reeder and Julia Rich and the Young Foundation is designed to highlight the fundamental importance of social and emotional capabilities to the achievement of all other outcomes for all young people.

It proposes a model of seven interlinked clusters of social and emotional capabilities that are of value to all young people, supported by a strong evidence base demonstrating their link to outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, and health.

It sets out a matrix of available tools to measure these capabilities, outlining which capabilities each tool covers, and key criteria that might be considered in selecting an appropriate tool – such as cost or the number of users.

It outlines a step by step approach to measuring these capabilities in practice, that is illustrated in four case studies that exemplify how the Framework might be used by providers, commissioners and funders.

This report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) addresses the following issues:

- the impact of charity law on trustees;
- the future of the Charity Commission;
- the law on Public Benefit;
- the means of redress available for and against charities;
- the regulation of fundraising; and
- the law of campaigning and political activities by charities.

This paper by Claudia Wood, Jo Salter and Phillida Cheetham explores how social housing providers can face up to the dual challenges of increased demand and fewer resources by doing what they do best – providing early, low level supports in an integrated fashion, to ensure resources go further and to generate greater cost savings for the NHS, social care and criminal justice systems.

Published by: , , 2012



The Wheel has published a new report on the state of impact measurement in Ireland’s community, voluntary and charity sector. The report is based on research conducted by Sandra Velthuis, an independent consultant on behalf of The Wheel in November 2011. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funded the project.

Ahead of Third Sector and New Philanthropy Capital’s annual Charity Impact Measurement conference
(London, 16 October 2012), Third Sector conducted a survey with over 240 organisations to explore current
trends in impact measurement. This report summarises the key findings and results of that survey.

This paper, written by Andrea Westall, an Associate Fellow of the Third Sector Research Centre and a Strategy and Policy Consultant, provides an overview of the different tools and approaches that are being used and developed and discusses the implications for smaller organisations. NAVCA’s Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit provide practical information, advice and guidance on public service delivery by voluntary sector organisations in communities across England.

This paper by Professor Fergus Lyon from Middlesex University and Dr Malin Arvidson from Southampton University sets out to explore the process of social impact assessment in charities, voluntary organisations, and social enterprises. The core
questions relate to why organisations embark on social impact measurement exercises; what guides decisions regarding the way organisations choose to investigate their social impact and how they use the results. It argues that social impact assessment and reporting constitutes an essential strategic tool for organisations in building and maintaining relations of different kinds between the organisation and surrounding stakeholders.

This report by Joe Ludlow (2010 Clore Social Fellow) and Belinda Vernon for NPC provides a framework in which to think about the importance of links between the activities of different charities in achieving positive outcomes. It aims to encourage thinking beyond the the boundaries of a single organisation.

It argues that:

- Charities benefit from understanding the impact networks in which they operate, and their roles within those networks.
- Charities can improve the delivery of outcomes by working with their impact networks to collaborate, to identify gaps and reduce waste.
- Larger charities and funders have distinct, important roles in making impact networks work effectively.

Many charities are very good at telling people about what they do—their outputs. But often, they struggle to translate this into what their work is actually achieving. How have their activities led to tangible changes in the lives of those they seek to help? NPC’s report by Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Jane Thomas, Mathilde Williams, Sarah Hedley, Sarah Keen and Tris Lumley looks at how charities in the UK talk about impact, and provides advice on good impact reporting.

The report details NPC’s analysis of the annual reports, annual reviews, impact reports and websites of 20 of the top 100 UK fundraising charities, highlighting examples of good practice, and offer advice for charities wishing to take the report’s findings on board, and take practical steps towards communicating what matters, in the most effective way possible.

Local Wellbeing: Can we measure it? by Mandeep Hothi, Marcia Brophy and Nicola Bacon for the Young Foundation, presents proposals for measuring well-being to support local authorities and their partners in the shift to Comprehensive Area Assessment, the new local government performance assessment framework.