Impact Assessment Guide

Impact Assessment Guide

A free resource designed with product giving at its heart. 

We’ve worked with PwC to create a new concise Impact Assessment Guide. With a greater understanding of impact, both companies and charitable organisations can communicate the social value they deliver together.


What’s in the guide?

This step-by-step guide is designed to help whether you are just starting to measure your impact, or are looking to develop existing evaluation methodologies. Within the guide we’ve included some links to other organisations that have created helpful templates and centralised lists of national data sources.

The guide will walk readers through four stages, from understanding the language used to measure impact, mapping a project’s impact pathway, the steps to converting outcomes into social return on investment (SROI) and the ways you might use and share your results.

This guide can be used for a whole organisation or a particular project. If measuring impact for the first time, we suggest users follow the guide from start to finish. If you are familiar with impact measurement, it may be helpful just to refer to sections on specific areas of interest.


Who is it intended for?

This guide is a free resource, designed to support charitable organisations including charities, community groups, social enterprises and schools.  If you have any questions, contact Charlotte, Partnerships and Impact Director.


How will it help charities?

Charities are increasingly expected to demonstrate measurable impact, including the value of less tangible outcomes like increased confidence and wellbeing. Impact measurement can also help an organisation assess internally whether it is achieving its purpose and improve both planning and operations. It can help to:

  • Understand your organisation’s purpose
  • Plan your strategy
  • Attract funding and secure new contracts
  • Improve your operations and make them more efficient
  • Enhance marketing, communications and stakeholder engagement

The guide was piloted in spring 2019 with five charities in our network, each with a different level of experience in impact measurement. Their invaluable feedback has helped to shape the guide and make it accessible for charities of any shape and size. We are so grateful for their time, efforts and insight into the practical application of the guide within their teams.

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Why have In Kind Direct made this guide?

In 2017, as part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations, In Kind Direct commissioned PwC to conduct new research into the product giving market. The aim was to better understand the economic, social, and environmental value of product giving. With greater competition for funding and reductions in public funding, it became clear one of the key challenges facing charities is the need to demonstrate and quantify their impact to supporters and the wider world. This culminated in our Product Giving Manifesto, laying out our commitment to engage with more manufacturers and retailers and meet the ever-growing need of our charitable network and the people they support.

Our manifesto therefore pledged to find innovative ways to for charitable organisations to measure and share their impact.

Robin Boles, Former Chief Executive, explains:

"Our aspiration for this guide is that it will help charitable organisations to develop meaningful ways to demonstrate their social impact, and the benefit of joining our network to benefit from product giving. As a charity too, In Kind Direct has a responsibility to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its actions and measure the impact its work generates. Effective impact measurement by our network will therefore help us to engage more meaningfully with product donor companies that already support us, and new companies to come on board. Ultimately we want to ensure as many people as possible can access the essentials everyone deserves."


Tom Beagent, Director at PwC explains:

"These days demonstrating the scale of impact by charities, social enterprises and community groups is a must. Donors want to know that they are supporting activities that have the maximum possible impact. Research has found that as much as 90% of donors pay attention to the impact of a charity when deciding to donate and so charities are increasingly competing based on the social return on investment they achieve. This guide is a fantastic resource for charitable organisations looking to use impact assessments as a means to demonstrate and maximise the impact they achieve."


A word from these charities that helped pilot the guide

"We are quite new to impact assessment and have found the guide helpful in knowing where to start. As a youth orchestra, we have been mostly funded by Arts and Culture organisations in the past. Now our activities have grown to support the social and healthy wellbeing of our children and families, we will be using the guide to consider the extra impact our work has for the local area, especially when looking for new sources of funding."

Pagoda Arts, Liverpool

"We have measured our impact before but the guide gave us a usable framework to be more structured in our approach and think about how we will demonstrate our outcomes when we are planning our work. We use products from In Kind Direct in a lot of our service delivery so it’s helpful that the examples in the guide focus on this."

Oasis Partnership, Buckinghamshire

"Being part of the pilot for this project helped us to reassess the evaluation we were doing for some of our services already. Working through the guide helped us understand the sorts of statements we wanted to be able to make in our publications and to funders and so helped us to ask the right questions to begin with. We learned that each time you work through an impact pathway you learn something new, and it is worth the effort to better understand the difference your services make to people."

Caxton House Community Centre, London