Charities today face mounting pressures to align their strategies with their missions, especially in an unpredictable political climate riddled with government funding cuts. Coupled with the increasing demand for services, charity CEOs are navigating a complex landscape.
One significant pressure they encounter is the need to embrace digital solutions that can offer operational efficiencies, reduce administrative overhead, and enable engagement with broader audiences through various channels.
Leveraging a diverse range of digital tools can provide valuable insights into how your charity can substantiate its impact. It’s now easier than ever to use data to demonstrate how you’ve achieved your outcomes and the positive value this brings to your beneficiaries.
Outputs can encompass more than just statistics; they should encompass the journey taken to achieve your goals and the scope of activities involved. This granular information can help tell your story and underscore your societal significance, paving the way for sustained funding and the long-term sustainability of your charity’s mission.
While nearly 80% of charities acknowledge the benefits of measuring impact to enhance efficiency, a report by the FSI revealed that 48% of charities measured only a small portion or nothing of their services. Professor Paul Montgomery, an expert in Social Intervention, identified three main barriers that third-sector organisations face when evaluating their work:
- Lack of Financial Resources: Limited budgets can hinder impact measurement efforts.
- Technical Capability: A lack of technical expertise can pose a challenge.
- Evaluation Literacy: Understanding the evaluation process is crucial.
These barriers, especially technical capability and evaluation literacy can affect the confidence of leaders within these organisations. There are, however, consultancy firms like New Philanthropy Capital and the Small Charities Coalition that offer support to help charities maximise their social impact.
In an era of rapidly evolving technology and a plethora of impact measurement software options, practical considerations should guide your choice of the best-fit database for your organisation:
Customisability and Flexibility
Ensure the software can be tailored to your unique requirements, as rigid systems may lead to wasted resources over time.
Choose software that can grow with your organisation as you take on more projects and expand services.
Accessibility and Ease of Use
Opting for cloud-based, user-friendly databases that can be accessed across devices, facilitating remote work and collaboration.
Ongoing Support and Training
Seek software providers that offer adequate support and training to ensure effective implementation.
Given the rising threat of cyberattacks, prioritising data security to safeguard sensitive information and avoid potential GDPR breaches.
While financial constraints may pose challenges, it’s crucial to incorporate investments in impact measurement tools into your strategic planning. Keeping donors engaged and informed with clear evidence of your activities builds trust and secures their commitment to your long-term goals, ultimately bringing tangible value to your service users.