The power of measuring your impact

18 August 2021

Grant funders are increasingly interested in outputs, outcomes and impact to help them understand what your church does and the difference their donation could make.

A volunteer passing food tins to another volunteer at a foodbank

Understanding the terminology is key to writing clear funding applications, as well as helping you to improve the work you do.

To help you understand these key terms, read our article to help you plan how you will measure the outputs, outcomes and impact of your project.

Hear from a funder: Benefact Trust

But why do funders ask for outputs, outcomes and impact on a grant application? Jeremy Noles, Head of Grants and Relationships at Benefact Trust, explains the power of measuring your impact:

“Every month, Benefact Trust receives around 100 funding applications and while we say yes to over 80%, other funders support far fewer projects. That’s why it’s vital that your application stands out and that you make every word count.

The most frustrating forms to read are those when you get to the end and you’re still not entirely clear what the applicant is asking for money for! What we, as funders, really want to know is what the impact of your planned project will be on your community and how will it change people’s lives; not so much that you ran a Sunday school in 1982…

Just like every other charity, your grant-giver needs to demonstrate the impact of its funding, and you can help them out by showing them what yours will be if you get the money, and how you will measure and evidence that impact. But it’s important not to think of monitoring and evaluation as a fad, or a tickbox exercise just to please funders…

Good impact evaluation will help you refine your vision, motivate your team, generate stories of transformation, and ultimately improve the work you do to benefit others.

Benefact Trust has provided tools to help with this on our advice and resources hub, which aims to support churches to develop, implement and sustain successful projects, and to help them evaluate the impact of those projects.

Asking churches about their impact will help us, as funders, to understand what they are trying to achieve and the sort of story they (and, by association as funder, we) will be able to tell about it in the longer term. Sourcing quotes from people who will benefit really helps bring your project to life for us.

To want to make a change in the world is admirable, but to evidence that you have, and be able to tell stories of the transformation you’ve enabled, that’s powerful. And if you need more money to keep up the good work, and to ask for more time and resources from your volunteers, that evidence will be essential!”