A group of nurses stand together reading from a magazine. A graphic on screen reads: Learning together as a sector: NHS charities using shared measurement.

Read our report about NHS Charities Together, a group working to support the NHS and help it to do more.

Moorfields Eye Charity is part of NHS Charities Together, a group of more than 250 charities from across the UK who focus on helping 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 to explore how we can work more closely with other NHS charities to measure our collective impact.

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.

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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. Every contribution is important.

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Most NHS charities make a large number of small grants (less than £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. Resources and education make all the difference.

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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. Shout about it.

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Patients that know about NHS charities are even more positive about the range of ways that NHS charities support both hospitals and patients directly!

5. Getting our name out there is vital.

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Most patients don’t know about the existence and impact of NHS charities. The majority of patients benefitting from support from NHS charities have never heard of the charity that’s funding their 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.