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What are our core beliefs?

As your partner in Social Impact Measurement, we want to share our core values and what makes us tick. Below you’ll find the principles of what we do and why we do it.

  • We believe in counting what counts by focusing on outcomes not just outputs. 

    • Why? We support nonprofits in generating simplified high-level reports that focus on the most salient aspects of their programs (mission, beneficiaries, outcomes, and measurement) rather than lengthy narrative descriptions of their work or a list of inputs and outputs. Tracking outputs, rather than outcomes, doesn’t generate meaningful or actionable information and is time-intensive on your nonprofit partners. We strive to reduce the reporting burden on nonprofits so they can invest their time and energy in serving their communities. As an investor, your focus should be on the end outcome of the programs you support. Our reporting focuses  on the interim and end outcomes (rather than process) to capture the most important data for proving and improving value for both nonprofits and funders alike.  

  • We believe the most useful metric of impact is the ways in which individual lives are improved.

  • We believe in a balanced approach between standardization and flexibility.

    • Why?  A balanced approach between standardization and flexibility allows for every nonprofit to participate no matter where they are in their measurement journey. There is very little standardization in the philanthropic sector and predefining impact success thresholds would likely prevent many nonprofits from participating in impact measurement. Instead, we provide a menu of validated outcome indicators to nonprofits and invite them to define those indicators in their own programmatic terms. This balanced approach between standardization and flexibility gives nonprofits and funders the ability to analyze the data in aggregate while accommodating the unique approach and success thresholds of each nonprofit program. It also sheds light on gaps in measurement allowing the organizations to take action to address those gaps. 

  • We believe nonprofits should create a single narrative about their theory of change and impact.

    • Why? Nonprofits are in the best position to communicate their program’s contributions to society and should share their whole impact story rather than bespoke reports for individual funders. A single narrative about their theory of change and impact allows nonprofits to create a universal  impact story, shareable with a variety of audiences. This reduces the burden on your partners and encourages greater accuracy because it removes the requirement of tailoring their story of impact to address each donor’s unique interests. Also, this holistic approach to reporting still allows funders to identify which impacts align (or don’t) with their philanthropic goals.

  • We believe that nonprofits should set the time frame of their reports. 

    • Why? Nonprofits receive funding at different times of the year. When focusing on an externally-determined period of time such as a funder’s fiscal year or Board Mtg cycle, the nonprofit is forced to track and share impacts during an arbitrary period of time rather than the natural time period of their program’s implementation. By focusing on the nonprofit’s program implementation period rather than an externally-determined period of time, the nonprofit can report out on a full program cycle ensuring more reliable data and more accurate reporting. Ensuring nonprofits can set the time frame of their reporting also ensures that nonprofits can focus their reporting on their overall program rather than bespoke reports for different funders. 

  • We believe it is best to ask for projected impacts at the start of the program period and request final updates at the end. 

    • Why? Clarity around a program’s goal at the outset of the program is beneficial for nonprofits and funders alike. It ensures that the funder and nonprofit partner are in alignment about the partnership’s expectations including how success is defined. It’s much easier to prepare for measurement before program implementation rather than to try to do so retroactively. Getting a head start on constructing your logic model and measurement plan will make for a less-burdensome final reporting process and illuminates where measurement systems can be strengthened throughout the year. Additionally, having access to both the final results and the variance between the projections and actuals presents a rich source of data for program managers and executive leadership alike.

  • We believe that measurement should be accessible to all.

    • Why? Social Impact measurement is often perceived as difficult and inaccessible which prevents many organizations from reporting out on their end outcomes. Using a best available data approach and guiding nonprofits in data-collection best practices, nonprofits can rely on the data they already collect plus evidence-based estimates to substantiate their impacts. This allows nonprofits to report on their ultimate impact, drive program improvement, and equip their funders with quality impact data without an unreasonable measurement effort.

  • We believe that funders should be able to claim the impacts they fund or enable - no more, no less. 

    • Why? Funders should receive credit for the accurate portion of impacts their philanthropy generated. We do this through a claim calculation. A claim calculation ensures funders can communicate confidently about the impact of their donations with confidence that they are not over- or under-claiming that impact. Additionally, funders should receive credit for any catalytic impacts driven by their investments including scenarios in which funding supported program replication, attracting additional funding, and supporting the underlying infrastructure of a program that improved its overall impact.

  • We believe True Impact is positioned to conduct impact measurement. We leave process evaluation, grant management, and financial tracking to other experts. 

    • Why? Impact measurement is a critical contribution to the philanthropic sector and asks the question “What difference does this program make in peoples’ lives?” While process evaluations, grant management, and financial tracking all serve important functions, impact measurement is a distinct endeavor that we specifically design for in our process and templates. Our approach is not optimized for other measurement needs. 

  • We believe strong impact measurement strengthens nonprofits and funders alike.

    • Why? Impact measurement equips nonprofits with the tools they need to communicate their powerful work and measure their contributions to society. It equips funders with the information they need to make informed decisions and to prove and improve the impact of their philanthropic giving. Guided by funder best practices such as early communication, funder review of reports, minimum donation sizes for report requests, and reasonable timelines, we strive to reduce the reporting burden on nonprofits so they can invest their time and energy in serving their communities.