How CAVEAT Supports VCSE Organisations in Demonstrating their Value for Older People

Impact is the difference that VCSE organisations make.


It explains changes that organisations bring to the people they support. Assessing and reporting impact is necessary to show what an organisation achieves; it tells funders, service commissioners, people receiving services, volunteers and others about the organisation. It also enables quality monitoring and ongoing service improvement.


Here we define, the difference between outputs, outcomes and impact

(Adapted from Harlock, 2013).


Outputs – Outputs measure the levels of activity of a service or organisation e.g the number of hot meals delivered per week or the number or people completing a digital skills course. Outputs are frequently presented as numbers.

Outcomes – Outcomes are the benefits that result from a service or organisation. For example, a person may feel less lonely as a result of being part of a social group e.g ‘knit and natter’, or an organisation listens to local people and designs services according to needs.

Outcomes and outputs are often related to each other. Together, they can be used to demonstrate the impact of a service. For example, an organisation may provide transport for 30 trips a week to hospital outpatient appointments – this is an output. One outcome of this may be that Mrs Evans could attend her hospital appointment without having to rely on her son, who lives over 40 miles away and would need to take the day off work.

Outputs are often simpler to measure than outcomes. However, being able to demonstrate an outcome usefully describes the value of a service for individuals, organisations and wider health and social care systems.

Impactrefers to the overall difference an organisation makes, often in the long term, through its programmes, interventions or services. Impact can include results for the people who use the service as well as the wider influence on government policy, for example.




Here you can find additional resources – ThinkNPC 

The System Level represents the wider health and social care system


Measuring impact at a wider health and social care system level is beyond the scope of CAVEAT.

Data showing the bigger picture are collected, analysed and presented at a system-wide or population level, such as by an Integrated Care System (ICS) or Local Authority Public Health department.

However, we believe it is important for VCSE organisations to recognise how they contribute to population health and care outcomes.

Although we have not included any tools associated with the system outcomes within this toolkit, an overview is given to  help you understand the impact VCSE services have upon the wider health and care system

For example, if your organisation provides a carer-support service, it may contribute to a reduced number of social services care visits or GP visits. Even though you are not likely to be able to collect data to show precisely how your services have an impact at this level, including the information will raise awareness of your contribution.