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jumble of outcomes tools and standards currently available can be a confusing place to start, with many of these being outdated or lacking the context required to make sense in a local, tailored setting.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:
- Should your organisation report on outcomes? When and to whom?
- Where do they sit in your organisational reporting structure?
- What makes an outcome legitimate and worth measuring? How to perform a cost/benefit analysis.
- How do you identify outcome indicators?
- 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.