Involving users at every stage

How to involve users in the development of your organisation’s strategy, services and impact management

Why is it important to involve service users?

Most charities recognise that involving service users in developing and evaluating services is a good thing. But it’s important to understand some of the reasons for involving users:

  1. It can give a moral legitimacy to your organisation which is important when you are representing your users.
  2. Involving users can improve your effectiveness by giving you a better understanding of their needs and harnessing their knowledge and skills.
  3. Users can benefit directly from feeling heard, involved and valued as this can give them a sense of agency.


How can you involve your service users?

Involving people in your impact management doesn’t just mean asking them what they think about your service. You can involve people in your impact management at different stages, and at different levels.

At its most involved, people might participate throughout the process.

  • At its most basic, this might just mean sharing information about what you are doing.
  • You might take this further, and consult with people at different stages of the process.
  • You could make it more of an ongoing conversation with people that allows for more exchange between groups.
  • At its most involved, people might participate throughout the process.

How you can involve users in your impact management

Things to consider:

  • What level of involvement makes sense for your organisation and your user group?
  • What fits best with your mission, vision and values as an organisation?
  • Can user input in your impact management further what you are trying to achieve as an organisation?

The table below shows how you can do this at every stage

Level of Involvement
Information Consultation Conversation Participation
Deciding what data to collect Share your evaluation priorities so people know what they are. Ask people what they think of your evaluation priorities. Discuss your priorities. Involve people in deciding your priorities.
Collecting data Tell people how your data collection works. Ask people what they think of how you collect data. Discuss how you will collect data. Involve people in collecting the data.
Analysing data Share your findings and analysis. Ask people what they think of your analysis - do they challenge or agree with your interpretation? Discuss and refine your findings together. Involve people in analysing and making sense of the findings.
Presenting and using data Tell people what you are doing about it. Ask people what they think of how you plan to respond. Discuss recommendations and actions. Involve people in taking action with you.

Data Diagnostic

The data diagnostic asks 10 multiple choice questions about what your programme or service is, how it works and who it targets. It then provides a tailored report that discusses what kind of data you should consider collecting and how.

Take data Diagnostic

Next steps


What to collect

These guides will help you understand what data you need to show your impact and what data you already have.

Learn more