Shehnaaz Latif, Lead Consultant, NCVO Charities Evaluation Services, shares her tips on how organisations can work with funders to maximise the impact of their work.
To a charity, there is a whole constellation of funders out there. Some have big pots, some small; some relevant to the charity’s cause, others a longshot; some are warm, some cool. The various alternatives of funders’ characteristics can be both baffling and exciting. In a charity’s search for funds there seems to be some coveted ‘star qualities’ that set potential funders apart from one other. One of these is good impact practice – that is, the way they plan, evidence, and use data to communicate and learn from the difference their funding makes.
Over the last few months, I have seen that many funders are doing some star-gazing of their own. Looking inwardly at their own individual approach to impact practice and also asking ‘how are we doing?’ compared to others. These funders have a desire to benchmark against peers, understand how to adopt best practice and check whether their monitoring and evaluation requests are proportionate and appropriate.
I find this encouraging, that individual funders are taking small steps towards focusing on impact and inspiring a giant leap for the voluntary sector to improve its impact practice and use overall. But, the journey is never easy, so in these next few blogs, I’ll cover some of the topics around impact practice that funders seem, to me to be grappling with.