Early Intervention - how we assess social impact

Early Intervention - assessing social impact Early Intervention - assessing social impact


What are we looking for?

Social impact is the value that an organisation generates through its activities, for a variety of stakeholders. In the arena of early intervention, the potential value can be vast: by helping young people early on, their lives can be changed significantly for the better. Furthermore, these outcomes often result in significant savings to the public purse.

However, this potential can also mean it is difficult to evidence the value of the work that’s done. When the change is primarily about averting negative things, or long-term transformational change, this can be difficult or expensive to quantify.

Impact measurement is very important, and is a key requirement of the Early Intervention Fund, both as part of due diligence and as a part of ongoing monitoring of our investees. Our framework for impact, outlined below, is based around three ‘pillars of evidence’ and takes account of both the opportunity and the challenges associated with evidencing impact for early intervention initiatives.


CAN Invest - measuring impact in Early Intervention


How will we measure impact?

Organisations which receive investment from the Early Intervention Fund will be expected to measure the social impact of their activities for the duration of the investment period. This measurement will include:

  • Outputs.  Examples include the number of beneficiaries engaged with; number of new volunteers engaged; jobs directly supported by the organisation
  • Common Outcomes.  Examples include standard measures for impact in the Fund’s four priority areas:
      1. Child welfare and troubled families
      2. Early years provision and education
      3. Training and employment
      4. Anti-social behaviour and criminal justice


  • Unique outcomes.  Examples include additional/bespoke measures deemed important for the organisation to demonstrate the unique impact it delivers with support from the Fund.

Support we will provide

We will advise and support our investees to develop their measurement frameworks where appropriate. We have also provided guidance on addressing some of the key challenges to evidencing the value of early intervention initiatives in our guidance document, which you can download here.

The guide covers topics such as:

  • How to make the case for your Early Intervention initiative;
  • Understanding the ‘counterfactual’, or what would have happened without the intervention;
  • How to demonstrate the ‘economic’ benefits of your initiative through identifying savings to the State;
  • How to demonstrate the ‘social assets’ generated by your initiative;
  • What social impact methodology to use, how and when to involve stakeholders, and other impact measurement considerations for Early Intervention practitioners;
  • Links to further guidance, databanks, and evidence for the effectiveness of Early Intervention.

We also expect investee organisations to work with us to contribute to the growing body of evidence for the impact of early intervention initiatives by sharing their experiences with others.