As the field of Impact Management and Measurement grows, it is becoming increasingly important to keep abreast of the latest developments in this area. M&E and all associated practices arguably form an integral part of impact measurement and evaluation, but when you’re specifically measuring for impact, taking a slightly different lens, one where you seek to financially evaluate these gains, can provide new vigour to your work. Even if you’re still in a more research-intensive early stage of your M&E and implementation practice, using these guides will assist you in taking a strategic view on impact, and on building programme information geared for the future. Bear in mind, and true M&E (the kind concerned with learning and research) can often be far richer and go far deeper than impact measurement, so maintaining research and learning through M&E and impact measurement should always be a key consideration. Measure impact, but also, record learning, and don’t lose indicators just because there is no financial proxy for them!

The Impact Measurement Working Group: Measuring Impact

This broad piece is not simply a guide but provides a comprehensive update of the Impact Measurement space. This paper outlines the Four Phases of Impact Measurement: Plan, Do, Assess and Review. Around this, the framework includes 7 further key guidelines. This breakdown and categorisation of impact measurement activities provides a useful and comprehensive approach, which also assists in closing some of the terminological gaps between M&E and Impact Measurement.

The Rockefeller Foundation: Impact Investing Handbook

This handbook provides rich and deep insight into the cutting edge of impact investing, and within this, of Impact Measurement. Chapter 3 of this handbook entitled ‘Why’; explores how to define impact goals, but likely the most useful is Chapter 5: ‘So What’ which provides information on Impact measurement and management. This handbook asks the Why, What and How of impact measurement.

InFocus: 7 Steps to Effective Impact Measurement

inFocus is a social impact consultancy firm which specialises in social impact measurement. Their guide on effective impact measurement outlines and explores ‘7 Key Steps’ practitioners should take in order to measure, and report on long term social change, and how this did (or did not) come about as a result of the programme implemented. The first step in this guide is to ‘decide on your overall approach’, including your M&E approach – whether you’re focusing more on monitoring (process-focused), evaluation (impact-focused) or research. The second step is about deciding what to measure, by mapping your programme and defining the results you hope to achieve. In step 3 and 4 the guide will assist you in selecting your indicators and planning your data collection. Step 5 of the guide explains how to develop data collection tools. Step 6 and 7 of the manual will explain how to collect, manage, verify and use the data you collect to report on your results.

New Philanthropy Capital: Strategy for Impact

Taking a serious approach to impact monitoring and measurement is a commitment to being strategic about the impact you hope to achieve. This guide enables organisational to develop a strategy around impact creation; one they can communicate to funders and trustees, and which will provide the framework for future implementation and M&E. this guide helps to combine key organisational processes, such as establishing and articulating the ‘Vision, Mission and Values’ of an organisation, with M&E and implementation such as the ‘Theory of Change’, with a strategic view which ties all these things together into one meaningful three-part framework.

The New Economics Foundation and Social Value: A Guide to Social Return on Investment

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a specific methodology for evaluating social returns to a given investment. This is a comprehensive guide on how to conduct an SROI, but within in and through exploring associated literature, you will learn about how to develop and impact map, and how you can find and verify financial proxies for the social change which your project creates. Check the resource section to this guide which includes a helpful worked example.

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About Author

Angela Biden is a consulting strategist and M&E consultant. She has worked across a range of development, and business contexts. She holds a Masters in Economics and Philosophy, and has worked in the nexus of M&E and social impact; to help those doing good do more of it; for some 15 years. From policy board rooms, to Tech start-ups, to grass roots NGOs working in the face of the world’s most abject challenges; Angela is focused on conducting relevant and meaningful M&E: fit for purpose, realistic, and useful for stakeholders creating positive change.

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