Reporting when things don’t go to plan

NPC’s briefing paper following our seminar on reporting negative results.

It is not often that charities or funders admit they have a programme or service that did not go to plan. But if reporting largely focuses on the successes, and poor results are hidden, charities are left to repeat each other’s failures time and time again. Sharing negative results can be an indicator of an innovative learning culture. Charities and funders need to understand and explain when and why things are not working in order for them—and others—to improve.

In this briefing, we provide practical guidance and tips on how charities and funders can best approach planning for and reporting on negative or unexpected results. Here, we:

  • Identify why reporting negetive results matters, and why organisations struggle with it
  • Outline the principles to follow when reporting difficult results
  • Present useful examples of organisations that report when things don’t go to plan

This event took place as part of NPC’s seminar series—in partnership with Kingston Smith—designed to give charities an introduction to various aspects of impact measurement. For more from this series, keep an eye on our twitter page @NPCthinks and the event hashtag #impactseminar, or see the events section of our website.


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