Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector

Draft research report, The Australian Government Productivity Commission; 14 October 2009.

This commissioned study by the Australian Government has an ambitious ambit. It seeks to measure Third Sector contributions to Australian society at the aggregate, organisational, and program level. In doing so, the Productivity Commission states that it aims to enhance organisational performance, transparency for stakeholders, and related public policy. Chapter Three reveals the Commission’s evaluation approach. The Commission employs the theory of change model to standardise performance metrics though not necessarily a specific technique. Their articulated framework is built upon four tiers:
- Inputs (measures of resources employed)
- Outputs (indicators of the level of activity)
- Outcomes (benefits to the activity participants)
- Impacts (longer-term benefits to participants and the broader community)
The chapter centerpiece is a one page diagram illustrating the interconnected picture. This diagram raises as many questions as it answers as it must necessarily walk a tightrope strung between accommodating diversity within the sector to get meaningful data reported and the need for consistent metrics to aggregate sector impact from organisational reports.
The final report is due out later this year so keep your eye on this space to see how the Sector responds. For the draft and to access many informative submissions from the sector see: www.pc.gov.au/projects/study/not-forprofit/draft

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