NPC was commissioned to help Send a Cow refresh its approach to measuring social impact.
Send a Cow
Send a Cow works in seven countries in Africa, giving communities and families the hope and the means to secure their own futures from the land. The charity asked NPC to help it refresh its approach to measuring social impact, concerned that the conventional method of reporting impact through logframes and funder-determined ‘hard’ outcomes, such as income and agricultural productivity, did not properly reflect the notable social and personal changes that practitioners were seeing on the ground.
NPC and Send a Cow combined their respective experience and expertise in impact measurement and international development to co-develop a framework that captures the changes the charity aims to bring about. First we ran a theory of change workshop with participants from the different countries in which it operates and from different roles across the organisation.
Through a process of comment and review, we managed to refine the theory of change until there was consensus. We were then able to research indicators of the changes its services hope to achieve and data collection tools, drawing on both the UK and international development sectors.
Send a Cow is taking a staged approach to implementing the framework, using data it already has while introducing new tools to collect data it still needs. The results to date can be seen in its impact report.
Richie Alford, Send a Cow’s Director of Research and Impact, has noted several benefits from developing the theory of change and the measurement framework. These include helping staff and trustees buy into what is measured and how, identifying areas of commonality in how their programme is implemented in different countries, and then articulating what Send a Cow does and the impact it has. While it is too early to attribute any changes to the improved framework, individual donors and funders have commented on the clarity of the impact report and its robustness. One donor observed that very few NGOs are able to demonstrate their impact in a way Send a Cow can.