Tuesday 20 April 2010

An Impact Bandwagon?

Like many organisations ACEVO produces an Impact Report. But I'm not sure it does enough to measure "impact".

The problem for an umbrella body is how do we demonstrate the lobbying and influencing role we play? For example, everyone knows that ACEVO led the charge in routing Andy Burnham's misguided "preferred provider" policy. It was our sustained lobbying, whether behind the scenes or in a public campaign, that forced an about turn. The fact is that has probably saved many potential contracts for the sector. How many; well we do not know. And further, the fact that we forced this u-turn has been important in demonstrating the power of the sector and will make further attempts to infringe our position more difficult for any other Government.

Looking back - we know ACEVO's work on FCR has been seminal. It has made a step change difference to our sector. How do you measure that impact?

We are talking to the boffins at New Philanthropy Capital about work to look at how we do this. They have the real expertise in this area so we shall see! And it could provide a guide to how other umbrella organisations measure impact?

We know that more work needs to be done in our sector on demonstrating impact. There have been some fabulous studies; the St Giles Trust one which showed that for every pound they spend they save the State at least £12 is impressive.

But we need to keep this in balance. Should we beware the Foundations or Local Authorities demanding to see the figures and the evidence before they disgorge cash. How do new exciting but untried and untested ideas or organisations get off the ground without someone taking a leap of faith and putting funding in?

And let's not forget that it is often the stories that are the most powerful ways of advocacy or fundraising. So it's not a large statistical chart showing the incidence of cancer but a powerful story of the difference a cancer charity made to someone's life that can bring in funding support.

Our splendid Head of Events, Yemi, is stuck in Madrid! He only went to check out a venue and was booked to fly back the same day. But he is still there. I'm trying to mobilise The Royal Navy; need to ensure essential third sector services maintained. Or failing that I'm hoping Nick Clegg might intervene as he appears to be walking on water at the moment.

I must say the stories of the Clegg fag are all rather fascinating. Click here for the link. I feel I know him so much better now. My sample poll of one of the debate - my Mother - thought Gordon did extremely well!

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