The topic impact measurement is becoming increasingly important. On the one hand, this is due to the organizational development of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and (social) enterprises. On the other hand, the allocation of public funds is increasingly subject to impact orientation in financial management.
NPOs, as service providers in the provision of (semi) public goods, must therefore demonstrate their effectiveness. The progressive managerialization of NPOs also contributes to the trend impact measurement. Inefficiencies or a lack of performance-based management is outdated for most NPOs. A new topic is on the rise: Effectiveness or impact orientation. In addition, financiers, such as foundations, donors or investors are increasingly interested in the effects of their funds.
In the course of discussing impact analysis, the term “impact” is taken for granted, but what exactly is meant by that? Impacts refer to the changes (positive and/or negative) that occur to beneficiaries of an intervention (e.g. people, groups, society) or the environment after intervention has taken place. Impact Analyses therefore include the measurement, presentation and analysis of effects and allow NPOs a more adequate assessment of success in the sense of their mission than pure performance measurement.
There are a variety of different methods and approaches to measure and analyze effects. An essential concept upon which many of these approaches are based is the impact chain that must be created for each stakeholder of the analyzed project or program. This means that it is necessary to clarify in advance who the central stakeholders of an intervention are. Finally, the impact chain shows what a stakeholder invests (input), which activities are set with the given resources, which output is produced with them and which effects (outcome and impact) are ultimately generated. The sum identified of the stakeholders’ impact chains represents the impact model of the analyzed project or program.
There are different ways to measure and analyze the impacts that are based on different social science methodologies. If a measurement and therefore a quantitative procedure is actually in focus, suitable indicators must be found to detect or "translate" and possibly evaluate the effects (see SROI analysis). Perhaps, however, a kind of impact assessment on the basis of a qualitative approach is sufficient for your objectives. This can be answered above all by the question of the purpose of the analysis. What do I need the analysis for? Is it about the legitimacy of my services to lenders or an interested public? Do I want to answer strategic or control questions with the results of the impact analysis? Or is my objective an internal learning process through the introduction of effective-ruled thinking? Depending on these considerations, the analysis will be rather broader or more focused and demand a different level of rigidity. We are very happy to assist you in solving these and similar questions as well as in the development of a suitable impact analysis design!