Small charities: Shouting out
20 June 2013
Conchita Garcia, Head of Projects and Fund Development at the FSI, is responsible for overseeing the charity’s programme of free events for small charities. Conchita has worked in the small charity sector for eight years and understands the challenges small charities often face first hand. Conchita has an MSc in Marketing and Fundraising.
Small Charities carry out amazing work, but all too often limited resources and a determination to be there for those they support leads them to put demonstrating their impact lower down on their ‘to do’ list.
The FSI, which organises Small Charity Week, provides free support services to small charities across the UK. Something we see at our free training course, ‘How to Demonstrate your Impact’, is that the various terms and phrases—from outputs, outcomes and impact—can often be confusing. This can therefore make demonstrating impact a daunting task.
Demonstrating the impact of small charities needn’t be an intimidating job that you put off – the important thing for any small charity to remember is that keeping the process simple can still be very effective. Demonstrating your charity’s impact clearly will bring numerous benefits, from helping build the public’s trust in your organisation to helping your charity learn about itself and continuously measure its effectiveness, and supporting funders to understand the difference your projects and programmes can make.
Although there are many different ways to demonstrate impact, a good place to start is by identifying what information you are collecting already, and where the gaps are – you can then introduce measurement tools to address these gaps (many are freely available). Choose the system that is right for your organisation and then build from there – don’t feel pressured to implement numerous systems at once if you do not have the capacity to do this effectively. Don’t forget to measure your impact consistently; this means making your whole team aware of what information you need to collect and why this is important.
The next step is to think about how can you share the information as widely as possible, for instance, do you have an impact report alongside your accounts? Do you have a newsletter or a section on your website where this can be mentioned? As part of Small Charity Week, we are tweeting the impact statements of small charities as well as displaying them at a mini-festival in central London. This is something that can be very easily replicated and is a great way for charities to remind their supporters of the difference their funding makes.
By demonstrating their impact as widely as possible small charities can shout loud and proud about their work, making sure they are heard.