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Measuring impact : how can third sector organisations make sense of a rapidly expanding marketplace of tools?

Metcalf, Lindsey (2013) Measuring impact : how can third sector organisations make sense of a rapidly expanding marketplace of tools? Working Paper. Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), Birmingham.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives .


URL of Published Version: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/documents/tsrc/working-papers/working-paper-111.pdf


There is a growing interest in methods of impact measurement as a means of demonstrating the achievements of third sector organisations (TSOs) (Ógáin et al, 2012). A large number of different tools have been developed to support third sector impact measurement work and organisations are faced with the challenge of selecting an approach that is compatible with their budget, expertise, time, organisational size and purpose. The availability of both generic and sub-sector specific tools, as well as a drive towards ‘shared measurement’ (Ógáin et al., 2013), add further layers of complexity to decisions faced by TSOs. In response to this, several publications and online guides have been developed to encourage and advise TSOs engaging in impact measurement work.
This paper examines these recent developments and provides an overview of some of the sources of information available to TSOs about impact measurement. It assesses the potential value of available guides and summaries of impact measurement tools – including an Online Marketplace prototype currently being developed by Inspiring Impact (2013a) - and examines the ways in which such guidance can help the user to create a shortlist of tools suited to their size, budget and capacity. The paper draws on some of the extant academic literature on evaluation and methodology to identify some of the wider factors that could potentially inform third sector decision-making about the approaches to impact measurement most appropriate for their organisations.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Social Policy, Third Sector Research Centre

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Date:October 2013
Keywords:Impact, measurement tools, social value, Third Sector
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:Economic and Social Research Council , Office for Civil Society, Cadbury Barrow Trust
Copyright Holders:TSRC
ID Code:1853

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