We hear a lot about outcomes measurement and the value it provides to charities in both demonstrating community impact and securing funding, but why is the uptake so slow?
Should resource-poor NFPs invest their time, money and know-how in developing systems and processes to identify, measure and report on outcomes? The NFP sector says “yes”– however, this needs to be done in a smart way, and in stronger, more effective collaboration with Government.
There is no doubt that the Not for Profit sector provides outcomes – the great work we see in social services, education, and aged care (just to name a few) is visible to all. However, the tracking, measuring and reporting on these outcomes is not entrenched, despite the NFP sector acknowledging how vital outcomes are to perform at their best.
Grant Thornton Australia together with Professor David Gilchrist of the University of Western Australia (UWA) Business School has invested significantly in order to examine this question by implementing the National Outcomes Measurement Research Agenda—a research project aimed at delivering practical information and tools designed to assist the human services sector in Australia to realise the opportunity inherent in outcomes reporting.
Our third Working Paper reports on recently held industry focus groups facilitated in Australian cities where the research team examined the sector’s perspective on outcomes identification measurement, reporting, and assurance. Key takeaways include:
- Outcomes reporting is a critical objective and needs to be practiced as part of a mixed reporting process, which includes outputs and financial reporting as well as external assurance;
- That off-the-shelf outcomes reporting frameworks can be of value as can internally generated frameworks—but they must be fit-for-purpose and represent greater benefit than the cost of their operation; and
- That outcomes must figure in an organisation’s decision making framework at a strategic and tactical level, in combination with other more traditional performance reporting processes.
Working Paper No. 3 builds on the first two working papers in this series by providing CEOs, CFOs, and volunteer directors with practical information, tips and framework ideas that will assist in pursuing outcomes reporting as a strategy.
Subscribe below to receive our forthcoming Working Paper No.4: An organisational outcomes framework, a culmination of the research and focus group feedback on an implementable framework for the NFP sector.
Our Australian NFP clients are contributing to the development of our practical outcomes measurement and we appreciate this greatly. If your organisation would like to take part in our ongoing research agenda, or would like further information on outcomes measurement, please get in touch.