Measuring and reporting your impact is a key step in the funding process. It is important for funders to understand exactly how their money has been spent and the incredible impact you have made. It is also important in helping build long term relationships between funders and community groups, meaning that you can spend less time searching for new funders and more time getting on with what you do best – helping make the world a better place!

Some important definitions to get familiar with

Beneficiaries – the people you are helping. Primary beneficiaries are those that directly benefit from your work. Since you work closely with them they should be easy to count and describe. Secondary beneficiaries are not directly connected with your project, but still benefit from it (e.g. members of the community or family members of the participants).

Outputs – the numbers achieved as a result of the activities you have delivered (e.g. the number of people you have worked with in a year).

Outcomes – the changes (positive or negative) that occur as a result of your work, this is what is experienced by the people you’re helping (e.g. 90% of people you have worked with are happier as a result of taking part in your activities).

Impact – the broader change that occurs as a result of your work. If you are doing a good job this should align to your organisation’s mission.

How to demonstrate your impact effectively

Focus on the positive changes you have achieved
Many charities tend to focus on their outputs when reporting on their work, however in our experience, the more engaging stories pay attention to outcomes and impacts. This means communicating the change that has occurred as a result of your interaction with your beneficiaries.

Back up good stories with facts and figures
Quantitative data is the numerical stats you collect (e.g. how many people use your services or how many people reported feeling happier after visiting you). Qualitative data is the testimonials and case studies you collect (e.g. the story of one of your participants, including their experience and opinion of your work). Using both of these will help you tell a more compelling story by appealing to people’s hearts and minds.

Review your current monitoring and evaluation process
You need to make sure you are measuring and reporting your activities, inputs, outputs and outcomes. Once you have identified each of these, review your current reporting system and make sure that you are collecting the right data to demonstrate your impact. You may need to make some small tweaks to your current process, such as adding a few new questions to the evaluation forms you use.

Involve your team and beneficiaries in the process
Make sure that the people supplying the data and those collecting it are happy with how the system works. This will ensure that you’ve got the right system in place and make the process easier and more enjoyable for them.

Shout about your impact!
This information is vital to funders, however it is also of interest to your staff, volunteers, service users and the public. Present your impact in an interesting and engaging way, make sure it is easily accessible and take every opportunity to shout about what you’ve achieved!
On ActionFunder, you can post updates on your project directly from your dashboard. They are shared with funders and you can use them on your social media and more! In need of inspiration? Have a look at this brilliant update 

If you want to find out more about impact reporting, you can watch this recording from our workshop with the brilliant Funding Doctor If you are ready to secure funding for your project, join ActionFunder and create your free account to get matched with funds!

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