Category Archives: Impact & evaluation

How we could can impact measurement more useful

This article first published in Civil Society Magazine.  Most of the impact data charities gather does not help raise funds or improve performance This opinion piece is a response to an article titled How do you measure the value of … Continue reading

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When charitable donations cost more than they give

Popularity contests for funding waste time and resources This article first published in the Financial Times. Some charitable donors are a net drain: they cost organisations they seek to help more than they contribute. Others come pretty close, costing nearly … Continue reading

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Creating a sector-wide research agenda: Industrial Farm Animal Production

‘Ask an important question an answer it reliably’ is a central tenet of medical research. Yet  much ‘impact research’ in the charity and social sectors (including monitoring and evaluation’) isn’t like that. Instead, we ask lots of questions, and answer … Continue reading

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What is evidence-based giving and why does it matter?

Interview with Caroline Fiennes, Director of Giving Evidence (16 mins):   This interview was made possible by the Skoll Foundation. It was recorded in Oxford in April 2015, in a single take and with no notice of the questions. More … Continue reading

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What would have happened otherwise?

First published in the FT. Did the charity make it happen, or would it have happened anyway? The purpose of a charity’s work — and your support for it — is to create a benefit beyond what would have happened … Continue reading

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How to give it: Why charity should begin in the science lab

This article first published in the Financial Times. Not all charities are good causes. This may sound surprising, because we’re used to thinking of them all as being somehow virtuous, but they vary in their effectiveness. Smart donors know that … Continue reading

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Oops: we made the non-profit impact revolution go wrong

By Caroline Fiennes and Ken Berger, managing director of Algorhythm.  The non-profit ‘impact revolution’ – over a decade’s work to increase the impact of non-profits – has gone in the wrong direction. As veterans and cheerleaders of the revolution, we are both … Continue reading

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What makes a helpful reporting & evaluation system? Learning from an outlier

Funders’ reporting and evaluation systems are rarely loved: they are more often regarded as compliance or ‘policing’. But not so for the Inter-American Foundation apparently: IAF received better feedback from its grantees on its reporting and evaluation system than have … Continue reading

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The Magic Impact Fairy will ensure that your research really changes something

Many charities’ theory of change is: ‘here’s that document you didn’t ask for’ I want to introduce you to someone: the Magic Impact Fairy. Her job is to take all the research that people do and the reports they write, … Continue reading

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The charity sector should use more systematic reviews to leverage what’s already known

Any single piece of evaluation research, designed to understand the effect of an intervention, has limitations. It will examine the effect of a particular intervention on some particular outcomes in a particular group of people (‘population’), at a particular time. That’s … Continue reading

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