London Funders - measuring our impact

Work is beginning with NPC to assess London Funders progress towards creating an effective ecosystem for funders working in London - your input is welcome!

London Funders is the membership network for funders and investors in London’s civil society. We provide a safe place to think, share, learn and act together to meet the needs of Londoners and our mission is ‘to strengthen and support funders and promote effective funding practices, to meet the needs of Londoners’.

In order to achieve our mission, we are aware that it’s important to be able to measure our progress effectively and therefore we have been discussing with New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) the steps we need to take to improve our approach to assessing our impact.

There are various ways we could approach this, and we have discussed how to use this piece of work most effectively. Therefore, instead of spending time looking at the long and indirect route to measuring our social impact on the ultimate beneficiaries, we will focus on a measurement effort which is directly related to what we are aiming to achieve and the activities we pursue.

We will attempt to assess London Funders progress towards creating an effective ecosystem for funders working in London. The theory of change implicit in this suggestion makes the assumption that if funders operate in a geography with effective funder infrastructure, and an ecosystem that supports them to improve their performance, then a positive social impact on London and its citizens will follow.

This piece of work will be carried out by NPC from September to December 2015, and the first challenge will be defining what an ‘effective ecosystem’ for funders looks like, involving what evidence exists about the environment that allows funders to be effective and the characteristics of effective funder infrastructure e.g. knowledge and learning; collaboration; support and development. We will then develop a theory of change around this vision of an effective ecosystem to identify the outcomes we should aim to achieve and how our activities can work to create these, and therefore what should be measured. We would look to translate this into a practical framework which we can implement to ensure that we are measuring our impact effectively and therefore improving our work and activities to ensure that we are achieving the outcomes we hope to.

At some point, this work will involve some conversations with our members, possibly in the form of a workshop or survey and we will contact you if this is the case. However if you would particularly like to be involved then do express your interest to us. We are eager that our members feel involved in this process, and hope that others find the approach as interesting as we do. Following the completion of this research and the final submission of the findings, we will facilitate a conversation with NPC to discuss what has come out of the work, what an effective ecosystem for funders looks like, and how London Funders can best support our members in this space.