Closing in on change

Campaigning is a powerful tool for bringing about social change, but it is a risky pursuit for many charities, involving as it does the spending of often scarce time and money on activities for which success is far from guaranteed. Measuring the impact of your campaigning will raise your confidence in pursuing this course, as well as fulfilling your responsibility to assess whether—and how well—your strategy works.

Most charities measure their impact in some way, and for an increasing number it has become integral to their work. This is driven in part by funding requirements, including a move towards payment-by-results commissioning.

However, this overall trend is not evident across all parts of the charity sector. Our conversations with campaigning charities have revealed that many do not measure the impact of their campaigns because they lack the time and expertise, or doubt it would add value to their work. Some monitor selected results, but focus mainly on outputs rather than outcomes—therefore telling the story only of their activities and not their achievements.

Campaigning aims to achieve high-level change; it targets decision-makers, as well as behaviours and attitudes across a wider section of the public. It can be an extremely powerful tool for bringing about social change, addressing as it does the root causes of an issue, but evaluating the impact of your campaign is essential if you want to demonstrate what you are achieving and learn how to improve.

In this short guide, we highlight a number of readily available evaluation resources and explain how NPC’s four pillar approach  can help you evaluate your campaign through a series of simple steps.

 Changing attitudes and behaviour towards mental illness is a long term goal and it’s important that we invest in robust evaluation and learn from it.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, which runs the Time to Change programme with Rethink Mental Illness

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Use the Twitter hashtags #CharityCampaigning and #Campaigning to see what people are saying and share your views too.

We have also published Campaigning for social change: the role of trustees to guide trustees on the legal framework around charity campaigning and their role in helping charities identify their campaign aims.



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