7. Gauging Performance and Impact /

7.4 Reviewing findings regularly


We regularly review the difference our work makes.

To meet the standard in full, you review evidence regularly as a team. You examine how and why changes have taken place. Where possible you involve a wider group of stakeholders to help sense-checking your findings.

Try to review your results regularly to ensure that you are making good progress and achieving the things you hoped for.

A simple way to do this is regularly assess progress against your performance indicators, and evaluate performance based on appropriate points of comparison.

You may want to develop a simple Performance Dashboard along the lines of the one below.

Performance Indicator Baseline Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total Year to Date Target: Current Year Variation From Target
Outcome A
Outcome B
Outcome C

You can track the data compared to your baseline measure as you collect it monthly, quarterly and cumulative throughout the year. Once you have data for more than a period of one year, you can examine trends.

You can also regularly review progress against targets, using variances to help spot if your work is meeting, exceeding, or falling short of targets.

Likewise you could add and report against any helpful benchmarks to aid interpretation.

The key point is that you should review progress regularly and as a routine part of what you do.

You may find it helpful as a group (board, staff, partners, etc.) to make sense of information gathered and the implications for the organization. You can use reflective questions as prompts to encourage feedback and discussion, for example:

  • Did the activities occur as planned? 
  • Have we reached our target audience?
  • Which activities worked well and why? 
  • How have the results changed over time?
  • Have we delivered on our main targets? 
  • Where did things not go as well as expected and why? 
  • What difference have we made so far? 
  • Did the activities lead to any unexpected outcomes? 
  • What lessons have been learned? 
  • How can we do better?

Think about how you can build opportunities for reflection into organizational planning sessions, team meetings, board meetings, annual general meetings, and other events.

Section 10 explores in more how you can build an impact culture and learning systems into the work of your social enterprise.