When people talk about impact, they’re often talking about different things. For example, some funders ask you about impact but are actually looking for information about outcomes (the change you bring about).
So is there an agreed definition?
We use the definition from the Charities Evaluation Service, which defines impact as “the broader or longer-term effects of your outputs, outcomes and activities”.
Impact can be a slippery thing. Perhaps you never intended to have the impact that you did. Perhaps your impact was greater than you expected. Often, impact is the result of several organisations working in the same area, so your organisation is likely to make a contribution to the impact without being the only organisation to claim credit for the change.
Our advice is: don’t worry too much about long-term impact.
Focus on the short and medium term, and the long-term will take care of itself. By taking time to build a robust foundation at the start, you can build a chain of evidence that will help you to recognise and demonstrate your impact in the future.
Voluntary Action Westminster is a registered charity (no. 1068824) and is registered as a company in England and Wales with company number 03518124. Copyright Voluntary Action Westminster 2009