Charities should work in 'impact networks', think tank says

New Philanthropy Capital says working together minimises waste and maximises outcomes

Report author Joe Ludlow
Report author Joe Ludlow

Charities should work together in ‘impact networks’ to provide the best and most cost-effective service for beneficiaries, according to a new report by the think tank New Philanthropy Capital.

Impact Networks: Charities Working Together to Improve Outcomes says that working in this way could help charities avoid duplication and allocate their limited resources to the activities that are most effective in delivering the outcomes they are trying to achieve.

The report describes an impact network as a range of activities performed by different organisations that leads to a positive outcome.

It gives the example of the British Red Cross in Nottinghamshire, where the charity is aiming for the beneficiaries of its Emergency Response Care in the Home service to be able to live independently.

The report says that, in order to achieve this outcome, the charity works with a number of small voluntary local groups as well as the NHS, social services and private care providers.

"The organisations in the impact network rely on each other and need to work together to deliver the desired outcome," it says.

"Were there to be duplication of any of the activities in the network, this would be a waste of resources."

Joe Ludlow, one of the report’s authors, said it was important for charities to focus on the impact of their work for beneficiaries.

"I’m not saying it’s easy for any charity to cut what they’re doing," he said. "But there are good examples of charities working together to focus on outcomes."

He said it was also important for funders to understand impact networks so that they realised the overall impact any one cut could make and its knock-on effects.

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