There are a number of frameworks and tools that have been developed to measure impact, both for not for profits and for businesses, as they create positive social and environmental impact.
In our work, we begin with the impact organisations are wanting to create and then consider the approach that best suits the program of work and the social issue that it addresses. We don’t have a preference for any particular tool and may also construct a framework that can include elements of a number of tools, if that is the most appropriate outcome for the organisation.
A measurement framework should also provide constant feedback on the program’s effectiveness and therefore we begin with clarifying the underlying theory of change on which a program is built. The measurement framework tests that theory of change and provides insights for program adjustments to be made on an ongoing basis, thereby increasing the impact over time.
Once impact is being shown to be created, the measurement framework can be used to build a reporting mechanism for a range of stakeholders, using both narrative and numeric descriptions of that impact to appeal to a wide an audience as possible.
We have been working with a number of organisations on designing and implementing impact measurement frameworks, including Engineers Without Borders, Arup, Greenpeace and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.