Demystifying Impact Measurement

By Alister Reid, Scotland Membership Support & Development Officer

Alister Reed,Scotland Membership Support and Development Officer at Sported“Disorganised”. “A headache”. “Complicated”. “Unsure’ – these are just some of the initial thoughts that some of the groups on our Fit for Impact programme used to describe impact measurement, and you can’t blame them for this perception. In fact the mere thought of asking a volunteer-led community sport group to measure their impact on top of all the other work that they’re doing is – to the unfamiliar – quite an ask.


However, as more groups rely upon grant funding for their financial sustainability, the need to evidence their work is proving vital. Funded by the STV Appeal, the Fit for Impact programme took over 20 Sport for Change groups throughout Scotland on a journey to be Fit for Impact . Here is our key learning, and some tools that can help you along the way:


Get a clear picture of your goals and outcomes

You can’t expect to collect solid evidence of your work if you don’t know what you want to collect in the first place. First spend a good bit of your time identifying what your objectives are and then work backwards. A good tool for this is a simple document called Theory of Change.


You don’t have to re-invent the wheel

Once you’ve identified your objectives, start by looking at how you can adapt your current data collection processes to meet your data collection needs. Membership forms are a great way to collect data about your impact.


Take a baseline survey

Good practice is to gather baseline evidence before you start with an individual. You will then follow this up after your intervention and measure the difference that you’ve made. This is important to understand the true impact of your work.


Think about the knock on effects of your service

When asking for feedback from your beneficiaries think about the knock on effect your service may have on others. Often sports groups neglect to acknowledge the impact their service can have on parents, guardians, carers and other groups.


One size doesn’t fit all

Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses! The tools and techniques that a large group with paid staff has will be very different from that of a smaller voluntary-led group. If you are getting started with collecting data why not just start with a pen and paper or, even better, an online survey.


Try and automate when you can

In order to keep administration time down try and automate your processes as best you can. Google Docs and Survey Monkey are useful tools for collecting and presenting your data in a clear format.


Take your team on the journey with you

Coaches and volunteers are more inclined to implement the systems you’re creating, if they feel they’ve had some input into it. Consult your team throughout the whole process and make sure their input is recognised.


There’s plenty of free tools to help

Apart from Google Docs and Survey Monkey you can go on to the Inspiring Impact website  and benefit from a range of free resources. Evaluation Support Scotland also have a range of resources to support you with evidencing your work.


To find out more about our Fit for Impact programme and how it has benefited our members watch this video.



If you still think impact measurement is a ‘headache’ and you need some support then become a Sported member HERE and benefit from all the FREE support and resources that are available for Sport for Change groups throughout the UK.


Want to access the Fit for Impact support for your group? Complete this expression of interest and we’ll be in touch.