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.

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

Once you’ve browsed these pages, you will 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.

Prove and Improve Toolkit

This section, based on the Toolkit published in 2005, 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 contents of the toolkit are being reviewed and updated. 


  1. About the toolkit – introduction
  2. Why prove & improve?
  3. 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. DTA Fit for Purpose
  6. Eco-mapping
  7. EFQM Model
  8. EMAS
  9. GRI Guidelines
  10. Investors in People
  11. ISO 9001:2008
  12. PQASSO
  13. Quality First
  14. SIMPLE
  15. Social Accounting
  16. Social Enterprise Balanced Scorecard
  17. Star Social Firm
  18. Third Sector Performance Dashboard
  19. 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


Other Tools and Resources


At NEF Consulting we’re passionate about training others in our tools and approaches as we believe this is an effective way to make a long-term impact.

Click here to find out more about your training options.

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.

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  the New Economic Foundation’s work in participation and evaluation. For more information click here.


Training Programme
Strategic overviews for leaders and practical training for teams.

We offer tailored on-site training and briefings on SROI, Theory of Change, measuring social impact, commissioning for outcomes and co-production, Total Contribution, measuring local economic impact, community economic development, the social value of research, and more.

Clients include local authorities, universities, public health services, NDPBs, charities, community groups, membership bodies, and responsible businesses.

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by @nefconsulting