Perpetually measuring – how are you tracking?

Perpetually measuring – how are you tracking?

Hands up who is applying to Perpetual’s annual Impact Philanthropy Application Program (IPAP) which opens next Monday 25th October. While submitting an IPAP application is a rigorous work-out – there’s no getting away from that, my friends – it’s a useful exercise, and one that can help bring internal stakeholders together, fostering a deeper understanding of grant-seeking as a whole-of-organisation approach, rather than a siloed fundraising activity.

Perpetual are very clear that they are evaluating organisations not programs, and a good seventy five percent of the form relates to your organisation’s efficiency, your effectiveness in delivering on your mission, your quality of leadership and governance, sustainability and long-term impact.

If you are putting in an application, see it as an opportunity to take stock of your organisation – a kind of annual health check-up. For example, do you have an evaluation framework that links to your mission, strategic plan and organisation-wide Theory of Change? What outcomes are you measuring, why are you measuring them and how?

Because, when it comes to their questions around efficiency and effectiveness KPIs, Perpetual are looking for metrics not narrative, and for evidence that you are tracking your performance year on year.

Efficiency KPIs

Here Perpetual are looking at inputs and outputs across people, time, money and resources. Efficiency metrics might include data pertaining to:

  • Staff turnover
  • Volunteer hours
  • In-kind contributions
  • Operational revenue or fundraising income
  • Income/expenditure ratio
  • Value and number of corporate partnerships

Effectiveness KPIs

Effectiveness is about how well you are delivering on your mission, and the social impact your work creates. Effectiveness metrics might include data around:

  • Staff and/or client satisfaction surveys
  • Net promoter scores
  • Increased service reach and awareness of your services
  • Retention of key partners and stakeholders
  • Advocacy and awareness of key issues as evidenced by papers published or presentations delivered

Swap fear of failure for love of learning

Keep in mind that a Perpetual application is not an exam; they are not judging your performance, they just want  evidence that you have metrics and measures in place, and are monitoring them.  It’s only human to want to do well, but when it comes to measuring organisational or program outcomes, it’s important to override the fear of failure mindset, and the belief that funders will withdraw support if you haven’t achieved the planned outcomes. Whatever the outcomes – positive or negative, you need to demonstrate that evaluation results feed into continuous learning and program and service improvements.

Similarly, when it comes it comes to Perpetual’s question about the risks affecting your organisation, they are looking for non-glossed answers. They need to know that the not-for-profits they invest in are transparent and accountable.

Data and story-telling

A recent Centre for Social Impact (CSI)  webinar talked about importance of embedding evaluation in your organisation’s DNA; it shouldn’t be an add-on.  The data we capture feeds into how we communicate with donors and stakeholders about our organisation’s journey – the challenges, the learnings, the ‘pivots’ and the successes.   It’s all part of the whole and your story – as the Seer Data & Analytics website says so well: No story without data, not data without story.

If you need help or coaching support with your Perpetual application, I can help. I have many years’ experience in supporting charities with IPAP applications, and know what Perpetual are looking for, and can support you in presenting a quality application. You can contact me on: or call me on 0431 865248.

For more information on IPAP visit: