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A practical framework

Outcomes measurement for not-for-profits

We continually hear from our not-for-profit clients about the barriers and challenges that exist in pursuing outcomes measurement as part of their broader organisational strategy – for example, lack of measurement tools, funding, skillset and knowhow, particularly when tackling large-scale issues such as homelessness. As a sector, however, the benefits of obtaining this data are hard to ignore – measuring achievement of mission, demonstration of impact, business improvement, resourcing analysis, just to name a few.

The jumble of outcomes tools and standards currently available can be a confusing place to start, with many of these being outdated or lacking the context required to make sense in a local, tailored setting. To help simplify the process, Grant Thornton Australia together with Professor David Gilchrist of the University of Western Australia (UWA) Business School has invested significantly in the Outcomes Measurement Research Agenda. This research project is aimed at delivering practical information and tools designed to assist the human services sector in Australia to realise the opportunity inherent in outcomes reporting. You can read more about this project below.

As a result, we have created a simple and easy to use decision-making framework based on the learnings from our clients, this project and experience of the project partners. The framework assists not-for-profits in answering the following questions:

  1. Should your organisation report on outcomes? When and to whom?
  2. Where do they sit in your organisational reporting structure?
  3. What makes an outcome legitimate and worth measuring? How to perform a cost/benefit analysis.
  4. How do you identify outcome indicators?
  5. How can you overcome the common challenges and hurdles that your organisation faces?

Finally, we outline a 10 step process for identifying outcomes with a case study example. 

Watch our webinar on demonstrating impact in your organisation

Grant Thornton’s Simon Hancox and John Picot together with Professor David Gilchrist from the University of Western Australia held a webinar discussing the importance of demonstrating impact in organisations.

Click here to play the webinar

National Outcomes Measurement Research Agenda

Grant Thornton Australia and the University of Western Australia are jointly investing in a three-year research program designed to build the capacity of not-for-profits (NFPs) in the area of outcomes specification, measurement and reporting, and to provide practical and effective tools to assist them to respond to increasing demand for outcomes-based practices. The primary focus is on not-for-profit organisations providing human services.

Research objectives

The objectives of the National Outcomes Measurement Research Agenda are to build on previous work in this area to:

  • identify key issues related to the successful implementation of outcomes reporting frameworks in not-for-profit organisations providing human services;
  • develop and implement a research and practice program of high integrity and quality;
  • combine the strengths and experience of the research partners to ensure that their understanding and capacity is fully brought to bear on this program;
  • partner with the not-for-profit human services sector to ensure research outputs are reflective of the real situation being faced within the sector, that outputs are industry-ready and that they support industry requirements; and e create tools and resources that support the above and disseminate these as widely as possible.