Prove and Improve Tools

Building on research from the New Economics Foundation, NEF Consulting offers tools and resources to prove and improve the impact of social enterprises, charities and other mission-driven organisations and projects. This section of the website guides you through the process, from choosing and approach to ‘proving and improving’ to identifying the tools and methods that can be most useful for your organisation.

The toolkit provides a valuable introduction to a number of tools and methods for measuring and improving impact, which have been developed by the New Economics Foundation, NEF Consulting and other social enterprises. NEF Consulting continues to develop and provide training for some of these methods, including:

Once you’ve browsed the contents of the toolkit, you’ll be ready to learn how to apply NEF Consulting’s tools and approaches to build capacity and create change with our range of training options.

Originally published in 2005, the contents of the toolkit are gradually being reviewed and updated. Some of the tools and resources included in the toolkit are no longer maintained or supported, but have been included below for reference purposes.


  1. About the toolkit – introduction
  2. Why prove & improve?
  3. Take ownership
  4. Acknowledgements

Get Started – The Ten Elements

  1. Introduction
  2. The Ten Elements
  3. Case Study: The Surf Centre


  1. Introduction
  2. Tools Charts
  3. AA1000AS
  4. The Big Picture
  5. Co-operativesUK CESPIs
  6. DTA Fit for Purpose
  7. Eco-mapping
  8. EFQM Model
  9. EMAS
  10. GRI Guidelines
  11. Investors in People
  12. ISO 9001:2008
  13. PQASSO
  14. Quality First
  15. SIMPLE
  16. Social Accounting
  17. Social Enterprise Balanced Scorecard
  18. Star Social Firm
  19. Third Sector Performance Dashboard
  20. Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit

Measuring Impact

  1. Introduction
  2. What to measure
  3. How to measure
  4. Develop good indicators
  5. Gather information
  6. Compare research methods
  7. Analyse the information
  8. Sample indicators bank
  9. Social indicators: individuals
  10. Social indicators: communities
  11. Environmental indicators
  12. Economic indicators

Archive of resources

  1. Practical Guides
  2. General Reading
  3. Glossary



Tool Decider and Comparison Charts

The Decider and Comparison Charts are designed to be used together, offering an overview of approaches to measuring impact and quality. The charts feature more than 20 tools compared for quick reference.

An A3 sized wall chart to help identify the best tools suited to your organisation and your performance management needs.
Download here.

An A3 sized chart with more detail on each of the tools in the Toolkit and in the Tools For You book.
Download here.


Provides the fundamentals of measuring the outcomes and impacts of your work and help on developing your own indicators.

Prove It!

The Prove It! toolkit helps in evaluating your community project by:

  • Involving volunteers and beneficiaries in telling their project’s story.
  • Looking beyond the ‘easy-to-count’ to the important changes for the participants and their communities.
  • Investigating how change takes place, and how to improve impact.
  • Sharing and building on the learning gained from peoples’ experiences of taking part.

Prove It!  draws from a decade of NEF’s work in participation and evaluation. For more information click here.