Insights about impact

We thank Generosity Magazine for publishing this article.

Christopher Baker and Wendy Scaife explore how impact influences giving choices using data from Giving Australia 2016.

“The other way you choose the organisation is impact … it’s whether they can leverage it dollar for dollar with something else that comes from somewhere else, whether it’s a government contribution or a corporate contribution or what. So you’re trying to have the biggest impact…” – Focus group, High Net Wealth Individuals, QLD

If we built a word cloud of Giving Australia 2016, ‘impact’ would loom in large type.

Here are a few findings, particularly from the Philanthropy and philanthropists’ survey and interviews, as well as from the nonprofit perspective.

Impact a key driver

Achieving impact was a key driver for philanthropists. In fact, the most common motivating factor for 92.9 per cent of survey respondents was ‘belief that giving can make a difference’.

Impact influences giving choices             

Impact shaped what issues and organisations were supported. Giving went where the greatest impact could be made. Key considerations reported were:

  • whether the focus area for the grant or gift was already well covered, and
  • whether a grant or gift was likely to contribute to sustainable positive impact.

Four of the top five factors influencing which nonprofit organisations were supported related to their ability to generate impact. These included:

  • being assured that a charity or organisation had sound governance (92.3 per cent)
  • perceiving a charity as competent and capable to deliver social impact (92 per cent)
  • believing that a grant would provide for the disadvantaged and meet key needs (74.1 per cent)
  • being confident that the grant would provide ‘bang for buck’ in terms of impact (65.4 per cent).


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