07 Apr. 2015 | Comments (0)
There is an important distinction between, and progression from, outcomes to impact. Meeting a particular outcome may represent a step toward impact, but it is not impact itself. In general, outcomes represent specific and measurable changes to program participants that happen as a direct result of program activities. Impact represents longer-term changes, often influencing communities or systems. Download Framing Social Impact Measurement to find out more.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation characterizes impacts as “results expected seven to ten years after an activity is underway—the future social change your program is working to create.”
The more causality, or attribution of results to a specific intervention, can be established, the more rigorous the evaluation of impact. Therefore, an important element of “impact” is the indication of a counterfactual, or “what would have happened anyway.” This requirement suggests that an intervention has impact only if it produces social outcomes that would not otherwise have occurred.