Traditional economic analysis trades-off different interventions by comparing the cost-effectiveness on a monetary basis. However, for many charitable interventions, there is no direct financial outcome to measure on a monetary basis. For example, the benefit to an individual from alleviating anxiety or strengthening relationships in a local neighbourhood is hard to measure. In these cases, the benefits are often imperfectly proxied for or assessed qualitatively, with little reference to robust evidence on outcomes. This can create inconsistencies that makes comparisons between different interventions more difficult and often lead to charity sector interventions being undervalued.

Wellbeing measurement offers a potential way to resolve this challenge – providing a more direct, meaningful and complete indicator of the quality of an individual’s life. Using wellbeing to assess different interventions should help to include a greater breadth of benefits to a greater depth, and with increased accuracy in order to help support better decisions in the sector. In 2021, the Treasury published new guidance that not only recommended wellbeing as an effective, more complete, approach to assessing the impact of policies and interventions, but also provides a basis for putting a monetary value on wellbeing outcomes. 

This provides a fantastic opportunity to capture and value more of the benefits of charitable interventions. This short guide, produced by Pro Bono Economics in partnership with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, outlines our approach to assessing wellbeing impacts in the charity sector.

Read the guide here​