Tag Archives: outputs

Demystifying Impact Measurement, some notes from the session at #Locality16

Phil Tubla and Elly Townsend ran a session today at the Locality conference around Demystifying Impact, and Impact takes many guises, Environmental, Economical and Social and sometimes all of this in one project – but how do you measure it?

These are some notes and my thoughts from throughout the session:

The session started by asking for introductions from the room, and how groups are currently measuring Impact – and when someone else in the room, who turned out to be a client of ours introduces your app before you get the chance to, it would be rude to not join in the conversation.

Impact can be defined as the change, effects or benefits that result from the services or activity of your organisation, but you need to be aware when measuring and reporting Impact that you are on mission and avoid mission drift – don’t just report for funders, report on the things that matter you.

What are the consequences, intended and unintended of the work you do? It is important to understand the consequences of your work.

Impact measurement helps you to: plan, evaluate, promote and communicate.

Outputs vs Outcomes 

Outputs are immediate and short term – quantitative data, numbers counting “bums on seats”
Outcomes are the changes that occur as the result of the activity – these are the longer term effects of your projects and is more qualitative – it’s harder to turn this into data, into numbers.

There was a lot of feeling that funders look for short term reporting – and that demonstrating impact especially outcomes are difficult on these time frames, and the further you move from your intervention the harder the evidence is to find that the outcome is yours..

The stages of measuring impact are:

  • Inputs
  • Outputs
  • Outcomes
  • Impact

Link the stages together – tell your story!

– Or in our point of view, more importantly tell your client / users story! They are best placed to tell you the impact your project is having for them – and use their voice, that is way more powerful then just your data.


The session then moved no with Gen Maitland Hudson discussing data, data collection, data triangulation – and open data, something we understand from our work earlier this year helping community groups use open data.

We shouldn’t be duplicating measurements when the data already exists – it just needs to be more freely available, and easier for the casual user, or grassroots community activist to understand.

There was then quite a long conversation around data, data collection, surveys and survey collection tools  – but I feel while data and data collection is great for number crunching, and measuring outputs it doesn’t tell the whole story – a survey might capture opinions, but doesn’t capture user experience. It doesn’t tell you the real difference you are making.