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Reach4Cause Impact Awards

NGOs play a critical role in addressing humanitarian issues, providing development assistance, and enabling developing communities to achieve sustainable development outcomes. Increasingly, these organisations face pressure from current and prospective funders to demonstrate the impact of their interventions. This is due to a greater emphasis on outcomes and “value for money” on the part of donors, and a general trend towards greater accountability in the sector (Hulme, 2000). Additionally, given the proliferation of NGOs, donors have a high degree of choice in where to direct their funds, making it necessary for NGOs to demonstrate substantive impact in order to stand out from the crowd. This all occurs in the context of a limited pool of donor funds, as governments of some developed nations, such as Australia, reduce their overseas aid expenditure (Flitton, 2015).

Despite these circumstances, many NGOs struggle to measure the impact of their programmes. In particular, it is not always clear how the impact of specific programmes (for example, improvement of certain development outcomes within a community) link to the overall missions and goals of an NGO. While prior research has focused on project-level impact, it has typically overlooked how these impacts relate to, and link with, broader organisational objectives. Today impact assessment has come to be defined in a rather specific manner by many international bodies. For example, the OECD defines it as “an assessment of how the intervention being evaluated affects outcomes, whether these effects are intended or unintended … this requires a counterfactual of what those outcomes would have been in the absence of the intervention”. A ‘counterfactual’ refers to a baseline measure of what would have happened if a development intervention had not taken place. The difference between the baseline and actual development outcomes within a target community can then be claimed as attributable to the NGO’s intervention and is evidence of its impact.

Randomised control trials (RCTs) are one tool used by NGOs that enable them to establish this counterfactual. RCTs require the identification of a control group (i.e. communities that do not receive a particular
intervention) as a baseline against which outcomes can be compared. This emphasis on requiring a counterfactual presents a new challenge for NGO impact assessment. However, there are other approaches that
NGOs may use to evaluate impact, including qualitative (interview-based) assessments, and the analysis of non-experimental quantitative data using econometric techniques, most frequently propensity score matching
and difference-in-differences methods.

This report draws on the experiences of a large NGOs. This NGO’s overall vision and mission is the empowerment of communities that experience significant disadvantage, such as poverty, poor health, and limited education. It is difficult to determine specifically how assessments of individual development interventions reflect these overarching goals and contribute to them. Despite this, we found that understanding the impact of development programmes was important to NGO for internal decision-making and demonstrating impact to donors. However, the size, complexity, and breadth of different development programmes create the potential for multiple definitions of impact, which results in many different forms of impact assessment.

Reach4Cause recognises these NGO’s and Corporates with keen interest and drive towards social welfare and encourage these NGOs and Corporates towards building a better society. Social Impact award is an initiative towards providing recognition and global platform for these organisations.