NHS charities learning together

Report cover, featuring two clinicians talking.

NHS Charities Together Logo
Moorfields Eye Charity is part of NHS Charities Together, along with more than 250 charities from across the UK - most of which, like us, focus on helping our NHS hospitals do more. Collectively, these NHS charities give £1 million every day to the NHS so that people can stay well for longer and get better faster.

We’ve recently helped to produce a report (Learning together as a sector: NHS charities using shared measurement) to explore how we can work more closely with other NHS charities to measure our collective impact - one of the key strategic objectives for NHS Charities Together.

Five key findings

NHS charities come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. This pilot project revealed five key findings that will help inform a new framework for measuring the impact of NHS charities and, critically, ensure it is suitable for all of them.

  1. There’s no single grant-making approach. Some NHS charities focus on funding research and innovation, others on improving equipment and some on improving the hospital environment for patients. Some, like Moorfields Eye Charity, fund projects across all three of these areas!
  2. Most NHS charities make a large number of very small grants (under £10,000 each). Moorfields Eye Charity is an exception, currently tending to make a smaller number of high-value grants (averaging almost £70,000 each).
  3. Most NHS staff believe that the new buildings, equipment and staff training that NHS charities support has a positive impact on themselves and the care they provide to patients.
  4. Patients that know about these charities are even more positive about the range of ways that NHS charities support both hospitals and patients directly!
  5. However, most patients don’t know about them. The majority of patients benefitting from support from NHS charities have never heard of the charity that’s funding that support.

The benefit of shared measurement

By working together with other NHS charities, we’re hoping to:

  1. Cut down on duplication: using shared measurement approaches means less time and money spent developing our own evaluation tools.
  2. Create a stronger evidence base: pooling and comparing data on the results of grant-making with other NHS charities will create a bigger dataset that can support stronger conclusions.
  3. Compare ourselves against our peers: shared measurement can help us place our own findings in a wider context that provides meaning and insight.
  4. Plan more effectively: pooling data also means that need can be measured in a consistent way, enabling us to forecast better and target our funding more effectively.
  5. Improve self-evaluation through new partnerships: working in a supportive environment with other like-minded charities will allow us to experiment with and improve the way we measure our impact.

By looking more closely at our own impact, and combining that with lessons learned at other NHS charities, we can all ensure we create the best possible evidence base from which to make informed decisions and make positive changes to the way we work, ultimately brining more benefits to patients and the NHS.

Read the full report

Learning together as a sector: NHS charities using shared measurement
The analysis in this report was produced by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).
The project was funded by Inspiring Impact, Imperial Health Charity and the Royal Free Charity.