Where to start when deciding how to measure your impact? As in most things, at the beginning; by thinking through what your aims are and how your outcomes and activities relate to them. So last week NPC was off to ACEVO who have commissioned NPC to develop a framework for measuring their outcomes. Excitingly ACEVO hopes that this framework can also be used by other infrastructure bodies to measure their impact and we’re hoping to test it with some others later in 2011.

The first stage of this work is a theory of change workshop; where we work through how ACEVO’s activities lead through to its immediate outcomes and then longer-term impact. Theories of change are very useful for charities to think through regularly and make sure they’re on track. When NPC has done it with charities it has also thrown up interesting things, such as most of the activities are concentrated on an outcome that people agreed wasn’t that important. Or that getting to the final outcome involves so many stages it is questionable about whether it really happens. Generally they’re a useful tool that I would recommend charities using to work through how they are planning on achieving their impact.

So last week, ACEVO and NPC worked through ACEVO’s theory of change. This was to make¬†sure we had agreement on what is needed for ACEVO to deliver its impact and what that impact looks like. This is the first vital stage that organisations need to go through before they can think about how to measure their¬†impact.

Now the challenge has been left with NPC to think through how ACEVO can measure its impact. Not an easy challenge, as infrastructure organisations find it notoriously difficult to measure their impact, but one we are determined to crack. Keep tuning in to find out how we get on.