Colourful lights

Learning from other sectors for better impact measurement

By Anne Kazimirski 26 September 2016

Maximising efficiency and improving quality is just as important in evaluation as delivering services. So it’s no wonder that, around the world, and across different sectors—voluntary, public or private—many organisations are striving to get better at producing, managing, and understanding data. And it’s thanks to this hard work that we are seeing innovations in impact measurement.

For example, with the help of new technology—developed primarily in the private sector—new ways of collecting and analysing data are being established. Take Dutch international NGO Cordaid. It uses the Flourishing Community Index, developed by Sense Maker. The Index is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data—collected by trained local people via an app—to assess the needs and perspectives of local communities, and changes over time.

My favourite area of innovation is shared measurement, when organisations working on the same things get together and work out a joint way to evaluate their work. In the conservation sector, the Miradi evaluation software allows nature conservation practitioners to design, manage, monitor and learn from their projects, based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. It is available in five languages, and is used in 160 countries. There’s scope for a lot more initiatives like this.

I am confident that the increasing dialogue between different but overlapping sectors is speeding up change and creating new opportunities. So any chance to further this conversation is welcome. In October, the fields of impact investing, social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, social finance, and evaluation will be meeting in Atlanta for the Impact convergence conference—watch out for what is going to come out of their discussions.

Here in the UK, meanwhile, we’ll be exploring the future of evaluation at our NPC Ignites session, with Rosie McLeod from NPC, Eoghan Mackie from Challenges Worldwide, and Anna from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. We will explore the drivers of change and inspiring examples of new approaches to measuring and evaluating impact. Come along and tell us about your favourite innovations, or hear of examples that will inspire your impact practice going forward.

Don’t miss our session on Looking ahead in measurement + evaluation at our annual conference NPC Ignites. The conference takes place on 12 October, and there are still a few places left. Read more and sign up today at