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Impact and outcomes

Measuring the difference we make
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We define impact as 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.

This means that ‘impact’ can be wide ranging and subtle. It is rarely easy to see just how and when a particular activity or product leads to a specific impact. Often, different factors combine to lead to an impact over time, so it can be hard to prove that a particular activity or intervention has led directly to a particular impact.

We give out huge sums of money each year and we want it to be used to achieve the best possible outcomes. Across all of our work, we want to understand what works well – and support more of it – but also to learn from things that don't work as well. We aim to share this learning among our own staff, among grant-holders and applicants, and with other external partners.

We recognise that the Fund can only contribute to impact by working through others who use our funding to run projects. But we want to understand how our selection and design of programmes and the way we fund can add value to that work, and ultimately how our approach affects how much difference projects make for beneficiaries.

This diagram shows how we think of impact at the different levels:

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