Blueprint for shared measurement
Shared measurement involves charities working towards similar goals reaching a common understanding of what to measure, and developing the tools to do so. In this report, which is part of NPC’s work on Inspiring Impact, we discuss the benefits and challenges associated with shared measurement, and through analysis of twenty approaches, examine how it is developed and draw lessons for future initiatives.
Shared measurement involves charities and social enterprises working on similar issues, and towards similar goals, reaching a common understanding of what to measure, and developing the tools to do so.
Shared measurement is a process—understanding a sector’s shared outcomes and mapping out its theory of change—and a product—any tool used by more than one organisation to measure impact. This report defines what we understand shared measurement to be and identifies the benefits and challenges associated with it. Through analysis of twenty approaches, we examine how it is developed and draw lessons for future initiatives.
Shared measurement approaches have a number of key features. Organisations generally have a consensus on the shared outcomes their sector achieves, agree to measure outcomes that are meaningful to all involved, and use the same tools and methods to do so. Organisations understand how their sector works together to solve a particular problem, through mapping their impact network or theory of change. Finally, organisations using the approach can compare their results to those of their peers.
The report outlines the many benefits of shared measurement: improvements in standards of impact measurement, greater consistency and comparability, greater understanding of what works, saving time and resources, less duplication in reporting to funders, and the ability to track beneficiaries through many services. But there are also challenges, which we explore in the report.
This report is the first working paper of the Inspiring Impact shared measurement programme, and we welcome feedback and comments on what we have found.
Presenting the results back to those who are using the system is really motivational and powerful. 28,500 people work across the Citizens Advice Service, this data allows us to know the difference that we make.
Tamsin Shuker, Citizens Advice
This publication was developed by NPC as part of the Inspiring Impact programme, which ran from 2011 until early 2022 and supported voluntary organisations to improve their impact practice. More information about the Inspiring Impact programme.