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Mar 2, 2023
Academy of Givers

Is the support you're giving and the work you're doing having the intended impact and change?

The 15th of February saw yet another Academy of Givers Members’ Meeting, with this time the topic being impact measurement, specifically aimed at understanding the impact your giving is creating, as well as finding out how to measure impact, communicating your impact and sharing tips to doing so.

The discussion began by asking the following questions: What is impact? How do you define it? And what does it mean to you?

Taking a general definition, impact refers to changes that happen in people’s lives, on the environment surrounding us, as well as on our planet. It refers to the outcomes and consequences of our actions, be they positive or negative.  

Impact measurement can come from different sectors and may have different frameworks. Some may take on a quantitative approach, looking at the numbers and percentages, while others may decide to take on more of a qualitative approach, taking more of an in-depth approach. Although, despite there being multiple ways of doing so, is it that easy to measure your impact? The session also focused on measuring social impact and understanding the long-term changes that happen.

We measure our impact in order for us to understand whether our activities are having a positive or negative impact, whether we are making a difference and changing lives, as well as to identify whether we are having the intended impact.  It is important to do so in order for us to learn and improve our actions, using the data for further change and support, as well as to manage and mitigate the negative and maximise the positive. There is much that can be done, but we need to be focussed on what we are doing, the impact we are having, and we must identify how best we can measure this impact.

During the discussion, those in the room mentioned the challenges they face when it comes to giving and when it comes to measuring their impact. They mentioned how employee engagement is one of the main challenges they face when it comes to their giving journey, this being a reoccurring point. They also mentioned how at times resources, time and funding may be limited.  

Attendees also expressed their struggle when it comes to choosing which initiative to support, asking what criteria should be used and expressing how they wish they could help all those that contact them. It was found that one of the main issues when it comes to measuring impact is deciding how best to measure the impact; what’s best, a quantitative approach or a qualitative one? Or should it be a mix of both? There are a number of ways in which that can be done, with there being no one-size-fits-all approach. It is true that at times impact measurement can be tedious, especially when we don’t have the required resources and tools, but its more about identifying what you as an entity is standing for, what you wish to do/be known for within the community, and the impact you wish to have.  

Here are a few tips which could help in measuring your impact:  

(these could be used for Givers and NGOs working on the ground)

  1. Be clear on what you wish to achieve. What is your mission? Have you thought of the change you wish to see? Possibly developing a Theory of Change
  2. Identify what you wish to achieve and what you need to measure.
  3. Identify the long-term impact you wish to have.
  4. Try to focus on an area. Be clear on what you wish to measure and why? What will the data be used for?
  5. Move beyond the outputs of your actions and understand the short and long-term changes. This can be done by looking at:

It is important to work with and listen to the needs of those you are supporting (Organisations you might be giving to or people you are helping).

  1. Empower the organisations you are supporting, support them to measure their impact and understand their needs.
  2. When measuring your impact, understand the results to improve what you’re doing
  3. Include your stakeholders from the beginning of your impact measurement journey.  
  4. Start small.

Other points that could help you with your Giving:

  1. When it comes to you giving, identify the resources you have.
  2. Identify the needs of those you are helping/wish to help.
  3. Understand what is happening on the ground.
  4. Empower the organisations you are supporting, support them to measure their impact and understand their needs.
  5. Identify which initiatives fall within the guidelines and pillars of your company, this making it easier for you to identify which initiatives to support.  For those requests which do not fall within your company’s pillars, refer them to a company who focuses on that sector.

On the day a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were also present and contributed to the discussion., and mentioned how resources, funding and time are also challenges faced by NGOs.  This is also a challenge to apply for funding opportunities available. They expressed how one-off donations are very helpful and appreciated but expressed the need for there to be long-term sponsorships and collaborations between NGOs and corporates.  

There is no one-size-fits-all, with every NGO being different and each requiring different support. It is beneficial for companies and NGOs to meet, identify the direction in which each of them is going, and discuss how the issues in Malta could be solved by investing in the NGOs on the ground, with there being a two-way learning process. At the end, it is important for us all to have the same end goal, that of improving society and identifying how we can be forces of good.