Measures of Success

What does success look like, and how can we measure it?

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Measures of Success

  1. Increased financial resilience for charities and social enterprises Access has supported
  2. Expanded reach of social investment (particularly those often excluded from investment)
  3. Access has understood and championed what works when it come to Enterprise Development and has embedded that learning beyond Access
  4. Built knowledge of the enterprise models in the sector which can help organisations to grow their income and impact (including areas supported through social investment)
  5. Organisations supported have developed new enterprise models or grown existing ones
  6. Increased capacity of the charities and social enterprises which Access supports to engage with social investment
  7. Improved access and removed barriers to social investment (particularly those often excluded from investment)
  8. Access, with partners, have led the case for blended finance
  9. Enhanced understanding of the complete picture of how much subsidy is needed for the organisations Access supports. 
  10. Leading the sustained or increased social impact for the charities and social enterprises Access has supported. 
  11. Leading to the evidence of what works permanently changing the way the sector is financed. 

Measures 1-9 relate to Access’ direct impact. Whilst we may only be one of many actors contributing towards changes in these nine areas – we still hold ourselves to account in terms of achieving positive impact.

Measures 10 and 11 sit beyond Access’ “line of accountability”. The purpose of our work is to lead to changes in these areas eventually down the line, so it is important to represent them here. Access does not however hold ourselves to account or routinely measure how we are impacting on these measures. That is because they are too far removed from our delivery for us to claim any direct role in their achievement and there are too many other factors at play influencing the outcomes (i.e. Access’ attribution is too far removed). However we do want to test the relationship between our more tangible impact and these longer term changes.

What does success look like? 

If we are successful, in ten years’ time we will see the following: 

  • Overall, charities and social enterprises are managing to sustain their impact or achieve greater impact because they are more financially resilient and self-reliant. They have readier access to the finance that they need when they need it, to sustain and develop income generating activities (whether this be small loan, loan with grant or quasi equity). And, more charities and social enterprises who have not received this sort of investment before are accessing it.
  • Charities and social enterprises are diversifying their incomes through enterprise activity and trading more successfully, including through taking advantage of a wider range of investment opportunities, and crucially building stronger balance sheets. They have been able to make this shift because they have improved knowledge, systems, processes, skills and governance.
  • This shift has occurred because there is now more appropriate enterprise development support related to income diversification and now more places for charities and social enterprises to go to access smaller affordable loans and blended finance products.
  • There is a strong evidence base about what works to underpin the development of enterprise development and investment programmes by other funders, infrastructure bodies, and support providers. Also, other foundations have been encouraged to pursue a total impact approach to investment.