What is impact?
Definitions of 'impact' vary. The Big Lottery Fund's working definition is: 'any effects arising from an intervention. This includes immediate short-term outcomes as well as broader and longer–term effects. These can be positive or negative, planned or unforeseen'.
What this means in practice is that when we talk about impact we can take account of many things – not only monitoring information and data, but also case studies, or feedback from beneficiaries or other people who are involved in your project.
All definitions of impact come from a desire to help anyone wanting to demonstrate achievements or learn from and improve what they do. We want our definition to be simple, broad and useful for as many groups as possible, especially since the idea of impact is still new to many of the groups we fund. However, definitions of impact do vary, so it is always worth checking with the particular funder you are working with or discussion you are taking part in.
Discussions about impact and impact measurement are evolving quickly, and this can make it harder for all involved to understand the ideas. BIG has been promoting impact measurement and reporting for many years, for instance through:
Find out what we are doing within the Big Lottery Fund
Further resources on impact and impact measurement