Impact measurement is often quite specialised and needs to be undertaken by an independent team with specific skills depending upon project design.
What is CSR impact measurement?
Impacts of the development projects typically take a while to manifest. For instance, a girl child education programme can show an increased enrolment and retention of girls and on a monthly basis, but further impacts such as improved learning levels will take at least a year.
Impact measurement studies have different objectives from project monitoring and typically have to be undertaken after providing sufficient time for them to manifest. It is often quite specialised. For example, if a girl child education programme has a strong component for mobilising communities, then the members of the evaluation team must not only understand education but also have knowledge of gender and the community in order to assess the impact.
Tools and frameworks
There are several tools and frameworks for measuring impact. Each has its pros and cons depending upon the nature of interventions, time and budgets available for the study and the availability of people. Thus, selecting the impact measurement methodology is important.
Impact studies have to be carefully planned in terms of team composition, timing and methodology. The process must be driven by the CSR committee which can delegate the day-to-day management of the process to an appropriate structure within the company.
6 Steps for Companies
1. Identify methods for conducting the impact assessment and outcome measurement suited to the context and the size of the project and budgets available.
2. Identify the skills set required for the impact measurement team and accordingly identifying, selecting and appointing the team.
3. Assist the team to prepare the methodology for selecting a sample, conduct surveys, focus group discussions collect information on the identified indicators.
4. Make the provisions for the site visits by the team, involvement of the agency during the baseline and needs assessment.
5. Undertake the impact measurement exercise and prepare the report.
6. Identify the lessons for future interventions.