Lord Gus O'Donnell, who will take up post as Board Chair of PBE later this year, spoke about how charities can improve the way that they are run by measuring outcomes on BBC Radio 4's "You & Yours" programme on Friday 19th February. The programme can be listened to here [15:05 - 24:41].
O'Donnell called for charities to measure their progress against defined objectives and spoke about how economists can provide this service to charities through Pro Bono Economics.
"We need to measure the impact if we do nothing, then go back and find out ways to measure after we've intervened in some way and see if there's a difference."
When data is available, PBE volunteers are able to look at charitable interventions and "the counterfactual," what would happen if there were no intervention, in order to help charities understand the impact of their work.
He also said that charities must remain responsible and accountable to funders by being transparent about the way they are using funds set aside for specific purposes. In a world of tight budgets, charities must prove that they are "value for money," but must also remember that there are ways of achieving objectives at low cost, such as through campaigning and influencing to change people's behaviours.
The programme can be listened to here [15:05 - 24:41].