10th December 2019, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

London’s Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA

Love and impact. These two words don’t obviously belong together, but they seem to have something key in common. The meaning of love is famously hard to pin down, and sometimes it seems as though you never quite know if any two people mean the same thing when they use it. There can be a sense that you just know it when you feel it. The same could be said about the word impact, in the charity sector.

At Pro Bono Economics, we recognise that there are many ways to measure and demonstrate the impact of your work. With ever-increasing pressures on charities to demonstrate their impact in quantitative ways, we offer an economic lens that can – when it is appropriate – cut through this impact confusion and help charities articulate their impact, and its value, in quantitative ways.

Until now, we’ve mostly offered our economic support through projects with individual charities, but we know there are many more charities that would benefit from this approach than we can support on a 1:1 basis. This is why we have been working on a new offer:  we’re really delighted to share that we’re ready to unveil our brand-new training workshop for charities. Through a mix of accessible examples and case studies, we’ll introduce our approach to economic evaluation of impact, explain how PBE evaluations have helped charities and run through the steps that charities can take to prepare for one. If that sounds interesting, you can register here. For more context, read on…

So what do we mean when we talk about an ‘economic evaluation’? Here at Pro Bono Economics, we typically mean an assessment of the value of the impact of a charity’s work that goes beyond just understanding changes in the outcomes that you can measure directly. It means going on to link the charity’s short-term impact to wider benefits to society, and then going further, to assign an economic value to those benefits. This could be a value in pounds and pence, or an assessment using measures of subjective wellbeing. If you have data on your costs, an economist may also be able to calculate the benefit to society in £ from every £1 spent on an intervention, the ‘benefit to cost ratio’ of your work.

In order to do this kind of assessment, there are specific requirements that need to be considered, including particular kinds of data you need to collect. Charities that turn to us don’t tend to have an in-house economist, so it is very unusual for them to arrive with all the data ready for a full economic evaluation. More often we see one of the following scenarios:

  • One is where a charity hasn’t yet started collecting much data at all. In these cases, we can advise them which data to collect, and then have to ask them to go and do so – sometimes over years – and come back for an evaluation later.
  • The other is similar, but they have already collected data, sometimes lots of it, but not necessarily helpful data for economic evaluation purposes. Again we have to ask them to come back once they have collected the appropriate data.

Because we see these scenarios again and again, we saw the potential value in creating some training content that runs through the framework of an economic evaluation, and explains what charities need to do before an economist can get involved. As a bonus, the workshop will, we hope, also be of value to charities which decide that economic evaluation won’t be right for them: the framework presented will also be useful for demonstrating impact without going on to value it. 

And if you’re still unsure, come for the location. The venue’s website boasts:

Situated on the top floor of City Hall, London’s Living Room offers stunning panoramic views over the Thames River and some of London’s most iconic monuments. London City Hall's prestigious venues will add an impact to almost any event.

Impact – everyone’s talking about it. We hope to see you there.

Thank you to City Bridge Trust and Team London for their support with this event.