It is time to get impact focused

This article written by CanadaHelps was originally published on Hilborn. View

When evaluating charities it’s becoming clear that focusing on administration ratios alone is largely inadequate, and that the better way to evaluate charities is based upon their impact.

An organization that is impact oriented is one that plans and implements each of its projects with the aim of achieving a result. While we are in the very early days of this shift, it’s important that organizations invest and build capacity in this area. Becoming impact-oriented will have massive benefits for all charities, as it will promote greater accountability and inspire further generosity from all Canadians.

In this article, we explore why measuring and reporting on your charity’s impact is increasingly essential. We’ll point you to new step-by-step tools that will advance your capacity to share the impact your organization is making and launch you on possibly the most important journey your charity can embark on to fulfill its mission.

Change Is the Only Option

According to Statistics Canada, 35 per cent of Canadian donors were aged 55 and over in 2013— up from 29 per cent in 2004. In the same time frame, the proportion of the total amount of charitable donations contributed by older Canadians also increased from 39 to 47 per cent. Given that donations have grown relatively flat across the country in recent years, with a growing share of total donations coming from a small group of older donors, we need to tackle the big question: How do we spur charitable giving amongst all Canadians, and most notably, among younger generations? In today’s highly competitive, always-on digital world, change is the only option.

Reporting on Impact: A Critical Step

Measuring and reporting on your charity’s impact is a key step. In a recent survey completed by more than 5,500 Canadians who donate using CanadaHelps, providing access to impact results was the number one way charities could increase a donor’s likelihood to give more.  In fact, almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they would be likely to donate more if they had access to a charity’s impact results from the previous year. It’s clear. Measuring and reporting on your charity’s impact is critical for retaining and inspiring larger gifts from your current donors, and even more, in securing your supporters of tomorrow.

Where to Start? Free Resources

CanadaHelps has recently launched an innovative new, two-pronged Impact program.

1. The new online Impact tool provides charitable organizations of all sizes with an easy, step-by-step approach to track and share the results they’ve generated, the impact they’ve had on the problems they’re trying to solve, and their resolve and plans to deliver real change long-term. The straight-forward tool is designed to enable the average charity to create and share its impact story in one hour.  Once complete, everyday Canadians will now have access to the information they want and need to invest more strategically when making donations. They’ll understand the need your organization is trying to address, your approach to creating systemic change, and your results to date.  More information and links to an array of charities’ impact pages are available here.

2. To help charities of all sizes become more comfortable with the concept of impact orientation, CanadaHelps is making a free educational resource published by its partner PHINEO, a European leader in helping enable social change, available to Canadian charities. The 130-page guide provides step-by-step explanations and practical examples to help all organizations become deeply impact-oriented.

The expectations of Canadians donors, and donors worldwide is rapidly shifting.  We are entering an era where successful charities, regardless of size, take a disciplined approach to measuring and reporting on impact.  It’s an era of continuous learning, evaluation and improvement, and one that promises to be a breakthrough period of positive change for all charities that embrace it.

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