New TSI Policy Brief on Impact Measurement

New TSI Policy Brief on Impact Measurement

EU-funded research project Third Sector Impact, in which EMES is a member of the consortium, just published a new Policy Brief “Assessing the impact of the third sector in Europe: From concept to metrics. Progress on indicators and methods”. It addresses TSI’s contribution to a coordinated European approach that can reliably identify causal links between third sector activities, their impacts and infrastructure elements by which they are significantly determined.

TSI’s ojective is to address the lack of understanding of the third sector – its scope and scale, existing and potential impacts, and barriers to full third sector contribution to the continent’s common welfare. After formulating a consensus definition of the third sector in Europe resarch teams within the project embarked on identifying barriers and drivers of third sector activity (results to be published shortly) and on an analysis of existing data to test the methodological validity of impact indicators that TSI identified, including through stakeholder engagement.

This Policy Brief departs from the assessement that data on the social and economic impact of third sector activity are not produced systematically and that robust analytical frameworks are missing. Impacts are often assumed but rarely demonstrated. One reason for this is that the third sector can have effects at individual (micro), organizational and community (meso) and societal (macro) levels. Moreover, the effects of voluntary participation are vary by age, gender, social and employment status, income, type of association and type of involvement. Findings generated by TSI indicate that the impacts of the third sector and volunteering depend not only on the activities that take place, but also on the kind of support and conditions governments provide.

TSI’s next steps include pilot-testing of new impact-indicators and analyses of developmental trends of the third sector in Europe. To this end, the project calls on all stakeholders to work in synergy in order to build a common European resource base of indicators, methods and data on third sector, its distinctive features and its impact, that can serve as reference instrument at the global level.

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