Impact reporting: We need your views!

Regular readers of this blog will know that we’re pretty keen on encouraging charities to talk about the impact of their work. Last year we published Talking about results, which looked at the annual reports, annual reviews, impact reports and websites of 20 of the top 100 UK fundraising charities to see how they talk about impact. We found that nearly all the charities we analysed were good at describing what they did—their outputs—but less than half talked clearly about the changes they achieved in people’s lives—their outcomes.

But good impact reporting is difficult, and requires charities to think through and get to grips with exactly how their activities work together to achieve their final vision. Other areas of charity management, such as financial reporting or governance, have clear guidelines and dedicated organisations to help. Until now, impact reporting has lacked this kind of guidance.

Earlier this week, NPC, along with ACEVO, CFDG, NCVO, the SROI network and IoF, launched a set of principles for good impact reporting, which we hope will help charities to talk about their impact. We want charities to have more control over shaping how they are perceived by the public, shifting the focus away from the dreaded admin costs and towards what really matters: the difference they make in people’s lives.

We want you to let us know what you think of our suggestions – are they a good basis for approaching impact in your organisation? Are they easy to understand? Can they be used by everyone in the voluntary and community sector? And most of all, would you use them?

Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below, or email and tell us your views.

Read more about the principles of good impact reporting in a blog post I wrote for the Guardian public leaders network blog earlier this week.