Impact of community-based projects

I’m currently looking at ways of measuring and reporting on the impact of community-based projects from a funders perspective, and would be interested to know how different funders approach this problem. Particularly when projects are so different and there is not a standard method.

Hi, I am not an expert on Evaluation, but I do know that we have an entire Evaluation Framework, which can be accessed here: and might be useful?

Historically for our standard funding programmes, we have established targets for a number of individual ‘Participants’, asking for some additional demographic info (age categories, gender, BAME, Dis/Ability). We then also set a ‘Throughput’ target (i.e. the number of times people walk through a door to take part in activity). We call these ‘Measures’ and our awardees are expected to report back on these targets over a set period of time, the frequency and length dependent on the funding programme. Some of our programmes will just ask for one measure, others ask for both (usually dependent on whether the award is for capital work or revenue funding).

Over time we have found it quite cumbersome to obtain returns from awardees, especially with our capital programmes who will have had all of their funding paid up front and the reporting then only begins after the facility is open; therefore the incentive to return a report is not there and we have to do quite a bit of manual chasing.

More recently we have very targeted funding programmes for set agendas (i.e. Health) which has a more in-depth evaluation I believe, in terms of looking at the impact our funding has had and is tailored to each programme, usually involving a third party researcher or university. Managing this internally through some sort of online grants system (which is my area of expertise!) is very difficult indeed, so this tends to be done offline or using a separate system to our main Grants Management System.

I hope this helps?!

Hi Neil,

Thanks - that is very helpful! I was coming to a similar conclusion, in that impact measurement and reporting for community-based projects requires a more bespoke approach. It’s good to hear that other funders are thinking in the same way. Can I just ask round-about how many grants to community-based organisations do you make a year?

Interesting also to hear that most of this is done offline rather than through your Grants Management Portal - I can understand why though!

Hi, not a problem Ethny.

Our volumes change from year to year, depending on how many programmes we launch and what is going on with our current Strategy (they run for four years at a time). When we went live on GrantNav the other week with our awards data from April 1st 2009 to September 30th 2017, we had a total of 15,293 grants to 12,773 recipients; so quite a few! I am in the process of adding on another quarters data as I type…c.400 additional awards, which are just being cleansed.

Our full list of awards in raw-data format can be found here; there is a column identifying the type of organisation by our own classifications (‘Recipient Org: Description’ in column S). So it depends what you would categorises as community-based organisations. Our range of organisation types goes from local authorities, what we call county sports partnerships, a range of national governing bodies of sport, universities, colleges, schools etc. right down to smaller Community Amateur Sports Clubs and village cricket club type provisions. We don’t fund individuals or for-profit organisations, usually, but you could argue that the majority of our funding goes to community based organisations, either directly or in-directly…!