Top 10 impact reporting resources for charities

Evaluating impact is a priority for charities looking to prove the value of their work, attract funding and improve their organisation and service delivery.

Successfully reporting on impact strengthens charities’ transparency to ensure supporters can see the difference their donations are making to beneficiaries.

This is especially the case due to income losses during the Covid-19 health crisis, where the need to share good news stories to the public about impact is arguably more important than ever.

According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) the charity sector is also increasingly reliant on public donations, as central and local government funding continues to dwindle.

Here we look at some of the best tools, products and resources available to help charities evaluate their effectiveness.

Inspiring Impact

A coalition of six charity sector bodies, including the NCVO, New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and Community Evaluation Northern Ireland, have come together to create Inspiring Impact to offer a raft of free support and resources to charities looking to evaluate their impact.

This includes online help, self-assessment tools as well as peer learning networks to “create a culture of continuous improve, so they can better serve the people they support”.

Inspiring Impact also has an online resource library of research reports and latest diagnostic tools as well as outcome frameworks and surveys.

This includes a downloadable tool for charities to review their data during Covid-19.


This free online evaluation tool is aimed at small to medium sized charities to help them prove their impact and assess where they need to improve.

It works by offering a range of questionnaires that can be selected based on each charity’s needs. This then generates reports looking at specific projects or the charity’s performance as a whole. Charities already supported by this tool include Sporting Force and Breathing Spaces. Another is Inclusion Gloucestershire.

The Happiness Pulse

This online evaluation tool looks specifically at how charities are impacting on the well-being and sense of happiness of beneficiaries.

The Happiness Pulse has been created by charity Happy City with National Lottery money to offer service users a survey charting their emotions, behaviour and overall wellbeing. Charities can assess the results and look out for potential improvements in their service via a dashboard.

There’s a free version for small charities while larger organisations can pay for an enhanced service offering further analysis, including the ability to combine sets of data and analyse the results for specific questions.

Social Value UK

Social Value UK is the UK member of worldwide social impact measurement body Social Value International. This offers charities a range of resources such as access to an online database of case studies, guides and analysis. Charities can also help the sector by uploading their own advice.

Among resources is a Global Value Exchange platform to help charities looking to monitor the social value of their work. Meanwhile, there is also a Social Value Software Directory, which offers a list of the main impact measurement software platforms.

Big Society Capital

Measuring social impact is at the heart of the work of social investment organisation Big Society Capital, which links up charities and the finance sector. This focus on evaluation is crucial to proving to investors the value of a charity’s work and the prospects of a good return on investment.

Resources include case studies and a free interactive tool called an Outcomes Matrix. This helps charities to measure their impact against their service users’ outcomes. Charities can tailor this to their specific mission and needs.


Evaluating and measuring success is a necessary part of financial reporting.

This is where a financial reporting tool such as Sage Intact can assist charities, through detailed aspects of reporting such as comparing business performance against targets

Among resources made available from Sage is a guide to ensuring financial reporting can help win tenders and bids. This stresses that “now is not the time for modesty”.

Charity Evaluation Working Group

The Charity Evaluation Working Group is a support network to help charities measure their impact. It aims to share expertise around planning, developing and commissioning evaluation as well as organising peer-to-peer support.

Health, children’s services are among specific themes its support covers.

Other support includes its Learning and Resource Fund, which this summer offered support to charities for a specific piece of training or resource. This was backed by the National Lottery Community Fund and offered up to £250 to support training or resources.


Consultancy Impact supports organisations looking to better understand and maximise their social and environmental impact.

Resources include case studies of success and a ‘learning library’ what includes guides on proving the impact of a charities’ work.

It also runs a one-day virtual social impact measurement training session. Meanwhile, products include measurement tool and impact tables to quickly measure performance against thousands of data points.

NCVO Charities Evaluation Services

As well as being part of the Inspiring Impact coalition the NCVO also offers charities a dedicated evaluation service. This includes consultancy support, training and resources.

“Focusing on your impact will help your organisation be as successful as possible in reaching your goals,” says the NCVO.

Support includes video training courses such as What Difference Are We Making? Understanding and Assessing Impact.

Impact resources include support on planning evaluation and effectively using evaluation findings. The NCVO also offers resources on tailoring evaluation for funders and commissioners.


Another Inspiring Impact member is NPC, which has produced useful guidance for trustees on impact reporting.

Its briefing to trustees encourages them to ensure charities are reporting on their impact. This includes why they should care about impact reporting, how they can support charities in this area and what good impact reporting should cover.

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