This is unashamedly a call to get involved. There are two projects going on at the moment that I would really encourage you to engage with. The first is specific to the arts and cultural sector but seems to me to be something that might be replicated elsewhere as an important piece of longitudinal social and economic research.
Lost Arts has been set up by eight unions whose members are directly affected by cuts to the arts: the MU, Equity, BECTU, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), UNITE, Prospect and PCS. Over the next three years the unions have undertaken, to record and catalogue all of the projects, events, initiatives, performances, organisations and companies that will be lost due to the cuts in public funding.
They are not saying that the arts are more important than other sectors just that the effects of the cuts should be properly recorded, recognised and publicised. This seems to me to be a really important undertaking and will provide a unique set of data that can add to the debate about how best to value arts and culture.
The second, is aimed at the wider nonprofit sector but I think it is important that the creative and cultural sectors engage, it goes back to a point I made in an earlier blog (Valuing Culture) that if we don’t start creating our own measures someone else will do it for us. The Principles of Good Impact Reporting is another significant partnership project. It brings together seven of the key organisations concerned with the performance of the nonprofit sector. Collectively, with the endorsement of the Charity Commission and the Office for Civil Society, they are endeavouring to set out a number of universal principles for charities and social enterprises to use when measuring and talking about their impact.
The aim is to help charities and social enterprises to shape the way they are perceived. By better defining ‘how’ and ‘what’ charities should communicate in terms of impact, it is hoped the focus can shift from arbitrary measures of effectiveness such as administration costs, to focus on capturing and measuring the real difference charities and social enterprises make to those they help.
The principles have been released for consultation and they are seeking feedback from anyone involved in impact reporting. Whether you support the approach or not it is important that you add your views to the consultation. I’m sure Bad Culture will be covering the project as it evolves.
For more information about the principles, or to give your feedback, email Tris Lumley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do try and add your voice to these important projects.
 The seven organisations are New Philanthropy Capital, ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) incorporating the ImpACT Coalition, CFDG (Charity Finance Directors Group), the Institute of Fundraising, The SROI Network, NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).