Evidence of Impact

Ask a cultural organisation whether it makes an impact on its audiences, practitioners, city, country and sector and the answer is likely to be a resounding YES. Ask them to prove it with compelling, systematic evidence and most will struggle.

It's not that no evidence exists: every organisation can dig out a few statistics and recount some inspiring anecdotes that all point towards impact, but few have this to hand in a clear, structured evidence document.

It's strange, because we're quite good at articulating the impacts we hope to make. But the way we measure success is usually reduced to mere outputs (how many and how much) rather than real outcomes (what difference did it make?). This is partly due to the tyranny of the business plan, atomising big objectives into dozens of little targets. And it's partly due to the lack of imagination of funders who repeatedly collect output data to see how efficiently funded organisations are spending their money but rarely ask for outcome data that could reveal whether they are spending it wisely.

We work with our clients to define five or six major impacts they have on the world. We then translate these into smart, subtle questions and collect qualitative and quantitative evidence from staff, peers, artists, practitioners, audiences, users, funders and stakeholders that demonstrates the extent to which these claimed impacts are true. We turn this rich data into a compelling, succinct Evidence Document that combines robust statistical measures with powerful testimony.

Clients have used these insightful documents to raise sponsorship and donations, to reposition their organisations within their sector and to make a stronger strategic case to funders.

A co-founder of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, Andrew is one of the UK’s leading authorities on...