Impact Measurement Strategy


Building a solid impact measurement system that enables us to tell CARE’s global impact story will establish the organization as a leader in its field. It will help us demonstrate CARE’s excellence in specific areas; identify replicable and scalable models that work; and communicate how to achieve and measure impact.

More specifically, designing a system that allows us to measure and assess impact rigorously will:
Allow us to learn what works and what does not Picture1.png
Allow us to adjust or “fix” what does not work, and communicate about what works
• Support CARE’s fundraising efforts by establishing us as a leader in development and a reliable steward of resources
• Support accountability to participants, donors, and partners
• Support CARE’s policy advocacy efforts by producing evidence based on our long and varied experience
• Support performance management and strategic planning decisions
Support reporting processes for compliance purposes

Overall, a good impact measurement system will give CARE a competitive edge among its peers.


In order to produce reliable impact data and make robust impact claims, CARE needs to carry out 3 levels of measurement.

The first level of measurement captures inputs, activities, and outputs. Inputs are the resources needed to undertake a set of activities. Activities are the actions that convert inputs into outputs (e.g., communicating, training, advocating, etc.). Outputs are the direct result of activities, such as changes in knowledge and attitudes, number of groups established, etc.

The second level of measurement captures effects. Effects are changes in human behaviors and practices, as well as in systems. Those can include institutional competency (e.g., improved health-care systems), policy change (e.g., new or revised policies, change of enforcement, etc.) or services (e.g., more effective extension systems). This level involves changes in the Enabling Environment.

The third level of measurement captures impacts. CARE defines impacts as equitable and durable improvements in human wellbeing and social justice. This level involves changes in Human Conditions and Social Positions.

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Measurement System

To capture CARE’s impact, we need a mix of quantitative and qualitative impact measurement instruments and a variety of assessment processes. We propose a system of 7 components with various purposes that will enable us to measure and analyze our impact.

The 7 components will give us data on all 3 levels described above. Considering them together will give us data on the inputs, activities, outputs, effects and impacts of our projects and programs. It will allow us to look at every stage of the program cycle, from how well we are designing our programs to achieve impact, to how effective our interventions are, to how our overall impact is delivered. The analytical processes will enable us to take an in-depth look at key themes and areas. Each of the components is designed to give us different kind of insight. Taken together, they will enable us to tell CARE’s global impact story.

The components of the impact measurement system are:

1) Directory
This system will describe CARE’s global portfolio and collect data on impact indicators. It will take over functions previously performed by C-PIN and become the Program Impact prong of Ubora. It will allow the Signature programs as well as COs to report on outputs and outcomes, and will also have a centrally managed and accessible directory function for user-friendly searching and user-defined reports. The Directory will produce data that is consistent and comparable, and that can be used at multiple levels by various stakeholders. It will enable CARE to make robust, evidence-based statements about its impacts, for instance its contribution to progress toward the MDGs.

2) Sectoral Portfolio Review
This review will aggregate project- and program-level evaluative processes to draw conclusions about the results of CARE’s activities in a given development area. This systematic assessment of interventions will give us insight into the relevance, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of our programs and policies. It will evaluate achievement on cross-cutting themes; show us unforeseen trends and patterns; and allow us to draw lessons for future management with a view to improving performance.

3) SII
Strategic Impact Inquiries (SIIs) critically examine specific aspects of CARE’s
Figure 1 CARE's Impact Measurement System
sustainable impact on underlying causes of poverty, and the organizational changes needed for deepening such impact. SIIs identify and investigate themes and questions under the broad rubric of, “What is our global impact?” Each SII will allow CARE to speak knowledgeably, empirically, and rigorously about its impact vis-à-vis specific aspects of poverty reduction and rights fulfillment; over the course of years, SIIs cumulatively get CARE closer to answering the broad question of global impact with reference to CARE’s Vision.

4) Program Causal Analysis
This process will be applied to a select number of CARE programs to demonstrate impact in the most robust manner. It will explicitly identify the links between inputs, outputs and outcomes for each program, thus showing the factors that contribute to our impact. This analysis will produce knowledge on whether what we do leads to the impact we want to have. It will be applied to Signature Programs, or sets of programs strategically selected around impact areas.

5) Meta-Evaluation
This process will synthesize the findings from CARE’s global collection of evaluation reports. It will also serve as a critical analysis of the evaluation methodologies used. It will enable us to take a look at how well programs adhere to principles, standards and policies for high-quality programming. This component will produce learning on both design quality and evaluation quality.

6) Proposal Analysis
This component will allow us to analyze how well project and program proposals incorporate an issue of interest or priority for CARE. Any issue can be defined; the analysis is then applied to proposal documents, logical frameworks and measurement systems, and where applicable, strategic plans. This component will assess the quality of our analyses, the coherence of our strategies and measures, and how well we adhere to principles and standards.

7) Annual Women’s Empowerment Report
PAU and PIKL are proposing that CARE develop an annual Women's Empowerment Report. The report will showcase our approaches, learning, stories and impact in our efforts for women’s empowerment, which is the focus of our global advocacy work. Each year the report will include information on a broad set of indicators and highlight a specific theme within the larger rubric of women’s empowerment, exploring it more deeply in terms of our program impacts and our advocacy achievements. It will synthesize information from the other impact measurement and assessment processes of this system, carried out around the CARE world, to establish CARE as the premier INGO focused on women’s empowerment. We might look to link the report’s annual launch to a specific event, such as International Women's Day, using the report as an opportunity to raise CARE's profile and reach out to our donors and advocates.

These components, each designed to provide a different chapter of CARE’s global impact story, allow us to measure and assess impact across all 3 levels of our work. The following table summarizes the components by levels of measurement and CARE initiatives they cover, who collects and who uses the data, and what products they yield. The second summarizes the projected cost of each component and various options for implementing the impact measurement system on different budgets.

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