Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Measuring your impact: It’s time for less talk and more action

This month there have been many New Year’s blogs and articles (such as this one from The Guardian and this one from Charity Choice) looking at predications for the third sector in 2016, many of them focused on how important it is that charities measure and communicate their impact this year. They reflected on how 2015 was a difficult year for charities across the UK, with trust in the sector being tested due to the closure of Kids Company and the publishing of a new fundraising review by Sir Stuart Etherington in light of several high profile scandals in the media around fundraising tactics.

In Northern Ireland budget cuts in the community and voluntary sector, the introduction of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Inspiring Impact programme have also contributed to an increase in the amount of discussion around charities proving their impact.

Less talk

At Gauge we help organisations to understand, measure and communicate their social impact. We do this by carrying out evaluations, providing advice and training staff in impact measurement so that it can be embedded within an organisation.

The nature of our work means that we hear a lot of conversations from organisations around their thinking about impact measurement. We have seen and been part of an increase in conversations around impact measurement in recent years which is not, as yet, translating into organisations actively measuring social value.

Of course there are plenty of notable exceptions to this, such as the organisations taking part in the Inspiring Impact programme, many of our clients (well, we would say that...) and others. However for the most part it seems that organisations are still waiting until they are being asked for impact reports and evaluations from funders before they start thinking about how they can go about measuring impact.

More action

We believe that the time has come for less talk and more action when it comes to impact measurement.

Charities are set up to meet a certain need. It is vital that they never forget their raison d’être and are constantly asking themselves, are they still meeting this need? Are they doing it in the most efficient and innovative way?

Or are they running programmes because they always run them, because staff enjoy working on them or because they lead to a good photo opportunity with service users? If it is for any of these reasons and they are not having a positive impact on the beneficiaries then surely this is waste of everyone’s time and resources.

Impact measurement shouldn’t be seen as an additional ‘chore’ that has to be done, a tick box exercise to be completed at the end of a project or the end of the financial year. Rather it should be part of the culture of the organisation, something that staff understand and fully participate in and something which is budgeted for as an essential cost.

We hope the predication that 2016 is going to be a turning point for charities clearly demonstrating their impact turns out to be true. Our challenge to the third sector in Northern Ireland is let’s make this the year of less talk and more action when it comes to impact measurement.


Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN