Principles into Practice

How charities and social enterprises communicate impact

Charity Finance Group, ACEVO and New Philanthropy Capital have launched a timely report to address the challenge of impact measurement. The publication sets out six general principles that define how charities should communicate their impact: clarity, accessibility, transparency, accountability, verifiability and proportionality. Each principle is based on making clear links between a charity’s activities and its aim and mission. The principles come to life in nine compact case studies.

Speaking at the launch of the publication, co-authors Tris Lumley of New Philanthropy Capital and Katherine Smithson, Charity Finance Group, described this as an opportunity to “readdress the power balance between funders and charities”. Katherine Smithson spoke of the importance of understanding impact within different contexts, since one size doesn’t fit all. While the concept of impact often calls for wider cultural change, the charities featured found they were able to apply the principles to a strand of work before branching out and using the principles in all areas of the organisation.

The report provides a variety of “viewpoints from across the sector” too, from advisers and evaluators and at least one funder. It challenges voluntary organisations to be more willing to analyse and communicate their impact and to see the organisational benefits. Arguably it challenges funders too – to support charities to work on this and perhaps be more flexible in the impact reporting they require of funded groups.

The report is sponsored by Grant Thornton and PS Financials and is available via the Charity Finance Group website here.