The power of measuring your impact

18 August 2021

Grant funders are increasingly interested in outputs, outcomes and impact to help them understand what your church does and the difference their donation could make.

A box of food being passed from one set of arms to another
Understanding the terminology is key to writing clear funding applications, as well as helping you to improve the work you do.

What do we mean when we talk about impact?

Here are explanations of the key terms:
Impact: broad or longer-term effects of a project or organisation’s work
Objectives: the specific changes that you seek to achieve within a certain timeframe
Outputs: products or services delivered by an organisation or project
Outcomes: the difference an output will make 
Monitoring: the routine, systematic collection and recording of data about a project
Evaluation: using monitoring and other data you collect to make judgements about your project or organisation
To help you understand and use these key terms, we’ve produced guidance on our Fundraising Hub

Why do funders ask for outputs, outcomes and impact on a grant application?

There are several ways measuring your impact can be powerful: 
  • Funders will receive applications for more projects than they can support. That’s why it’s vital that your application stands out and that you make every word count. Funders really want to know what the impact of your planned project will be on your community and how will it change people’s lives. It has to be crystal clear what the application is asking for and why it will make a difference! 
  • Just like every other charity, your grant-giver needs to demonstrate the impact of its funding, and you can help them out by showing them what yours will be if you get the money. That will help funders to understand what your church is trying to achieve and the sort of story you (and, by association as funder) will be able to tell about it in the longer term.
  • Measuring your impact should motivate your team and show them the impact their work is having
  • It will generate stories of the transformation you’ve enabled, which is a powerful way to gain more support from funders
  • If you need to ask a funder for more money to keep up the good work, or ask for more time and resources from your volunteers, evidence of your impact will be essential! 
  • Good impact evaluation will help you refine your vision and clearly define what you want to achieve. Ultimately impact evaluation is there to improve the work you do to benefit others!
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