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Our Impact

How we measure

Collecting impact data in a credible and cost-efficient manner is challenging in our markets, since they have remarkably different infrastructures and conditions for documentation. In addition, the issues addressed by our entrepreneurs vary greatly in character, which means there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ method. These challenges are not unique to Reach for Change, but are true for many players in the social sector.

Recognizing these challenges, we use a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to maximize our understanding of the impact achieved:

  • Qualitative methods include interviews with entrepreneurs and children, as well as field visits to the sites where our entrepreneurs carry out their work. Moreover, we collect stories; local Reach for Change staff submits stories describing impact on entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs submit stories describing impact on themselves and on children. We believe that the voice of the beneficiary – be it an entrepreneur or a child – greatly enriches our understanding of the impact achieved.
  • Quantitative methods include annual surveys which we send to both Change Leaders and applicants, in order to understand how we have impacted them as well as to allow them to evaluate our work. Additionally, we survey the senior management that acts as advisors to our Change Leaders, to capture their perception of what it is that drives impact. Apart from the annual surveys, we collect data through our online social impact reporting platform where entrepreneurs provide quarterly reports on selected indicators. This continuous monitoring and evaluation allows us to quickly identify entrepreneurs in need of supplementary support, as well as best practice examples to learn from.

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Several of our data collection methods rely on self-reporting, i.e. the data source is the entrepreneurs themselves. This requires a solid procedure for ensuring data accuracy. For example, we ask our entrepreneurs to submit their annual turnover – how can we feel certain that the number submitted is correct?

  • One quality assurance measure that we take, is to triple-audit the data. First, the local Reach for Change Program Managers – who know the entrepreneurs’ operations by heart – carefully review the numbers. Second, our Regional Directors examine, question and eventually approve them. Lastly, the numbers are inspected by the central impact team. Each reviewer screens the reported data for plausibility (are the numbers realistic given the entrepreneur’s operations) and consistency (e.g. do the numbers make sense over time, i.e. from one year to the next).
  • Another key measure for assuring data quality, is that all entrepreneurs must back up their reported data with verification, i.e. documentation supporting the numbers stated. Such documentation could be the entrepreneur’s annual report, or lists with the names of the children supported. In case the numbers reported are unrealistic or, inconsistent, we request additional verification.

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One of the most important purposes of monitoring and evaluating the impact we achieve, is to identify successes and failures and use them for our learning and development. Impact analysis is performed locally by our Program Managers as well as globally by our Central Impact Management Team. Insights and learnings gained are fed into the Program Development Team (PDT) where each region is represented, which ensures that all learnings are shared throughout the organization irrespective of geographical location.
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