Funders, commissioners and investors can provide incentives to grantees and investees to measure their impact by embedding a focus on impact in funding decisions, and building in monitoring and evaluation costs to their funding. They can also think about how they measure their own impact. This work is led by ACF.
Inspiring Impact supports funders to improve their practices around impact measurement and help more funders adopt an impact approach. A working group, Funders for impact, explores and develops ideas around supporting the impact practices of grantees and investees, and understanding their impact, and we have published a set of principles for good impact practice for funders.
Through providing grants—or other forms of investment and support—funders enable individuals, charities and social enterprises to make a difference. Many are already thinking about how to address the impact measurement challenges they and their grantees face. But not enough is known about good impact practice, and what this means across the diverse trusts and foundations sector.
Impact practice refers to the activities a funder or grantee does to focus on the difference it makes and is often considered in a cycle of planning, doing, assessing, and reviewing. In a diverse funding community, impact practice takes many forms. The Funders’ principles and drivers of impact practice aims to provide a starting point for discussions and offer a framework for funders to consider their impact practice, upon which a bespoke approach can be built or developed further.
Funders have a critical role to play in shaping behaviour around impact practice. Their approach and support strongly influences practice among their grantees and investees. This framework is designed to encourage good impact practice and to offer practical and useful guidance for funders, and to help funders promote good impact practice amongst the organisations and people they support.
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This paper looks in detail at how funders measure their own impact. It explains the different approaches funders can take to measure their impact, and explores the advantages and drawbacks of each. The paper draws from Evaluation Support Scotland’s 8 years’ experience working with funders on impact. It suggests specific points for individual funders to consider when thinking through each approach, as well as highlighting broader issues for funders in Scotland to explore together.
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Inspiring Impact aligns with other initiatives in this space, including the work being led by Big Society Capital to explore investors’ perspectives on impact and develop a common view, guidance and principles.
Inspiring Impact is keen to engage with commissioners to talk about the best way to commission whilst not excluding effective charities and social enterprises. We are actively seeking out commissioners who are working towards outcome- and impact-based commissioning to work with.