Case Studies

Acies Innovations

CFAR: Measuring Social Impact For Non-profits

Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), a non-profit organization in India, is focused on using public interest research and advocacy to impact the gender and social development discourse. For the past two decades, CFAR has been actively involved in advancing the rights of HIV/AIDS, women\'s rights and health, child rights, sustainable development, and elimination of violence against women and children.

Read more about CFAR

CFAR helps create spaces in the community, in key institutions, and in the media for dialogue on issues related to social development. They have set up community structures such as Single Windows across districts from over eight states to strengthen social inclusion across schemes, and social development programs such as health, sanitation, social welfare, and livelihood-related services.


CFAR, in continuation of their intervention in WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) sector in the urban poor settlements in Jaipur and Bhubaneswar wanted to set up a Notice/Display Board in the ward offices in cooperation with the Municipal authorities. The goal was to gather & display issues from the community on a weekly basis. As a result, it would aid the concerned authorities to take necessary action. CFAR found it challenging to measure the impact of the intervention because they had captured the data of nearly 50 wards in separate Excel sheets. Moreover, they summarized the details of meetings, campaigns, actions undertaken by authorities, follow-ups, and so in Word files. Interpretation and analysis of data in this format were not effective and the impact was not clearly visible.

CFAR approached Acies Innovations to identify the impact of the intervention and create visualizations of behavioral, process, and structural changes brought about in the community through the intervention.

Aiding CFAR in advancing from SMART™ level 1 to SMART™ level 2 in its processes was one of the key focuses of the project.


This was Acies’ second project with CFAR; CFAR was pleased with the Dashboard solution developed by Acies Innovation for the previous project.

  • 1. After a detailed review of the data and the intervention, and understanding of the objective of the project, Acies proposed to build another dynamic Microsoft Power BI Dashboard to bring out impact analysis visualizations.
  • 2. The free Microsoft M365 license purchased during the 1st project was leveraged and a dynamic dashboard was proposed.
  • 3. The team proposed to collect data from different Excel sheets into a master file, format it, thoroughly analyze the data from the Word files, identify key impact indicators, and tabulate them in Excel for visualization.

With Power BI, Acies could build a scalable model where CFAR can add more data in the future and generate up-to-date reports.


After a detailed analysis of numerous data sources and tables, the impact was identified, measured and visualized in the dashboard across 3 parameters vis-a-vis:

  • 1. Behavioral impact: Changes and better practices adopted & implemented by the Community; new habits picked up, such as waste segregation at homes, giving waste to the vehicles, increased community participation in meetings, etc.
  • 2. Process or systemic impact – Change or Improvement in the involvement of stakeholders & service providers; actions taken, plans implemented by the municipality bodies; a greater number of issues addressed in shorter duration - like water testing, household toilets built, desludging activity undertaken, etc.
  • 3. Structural Impact: Change or improvement in social relations between the community & the service providers, between the system and the community representatives; increase in single window forum members, community management committee members, increased number of campaigns, meetings held, and increased representation of women and vulnerable minorities in the committees.

CFAR was now SMART™ level 2 in their data monitoring and evaluation processes; The dashboard elucidated all the parameters and their measurements very clearly, enabling CFAR to understand the real impact and success of their intervention. We published and shared the Dashboard reports across the organization and external stakeholders, while maintaining data accuracy, consistency, and security by leveraging the O365 platform.

Up ahead:

By building two Data Analytics Dashboards, CFAR has just touched the tip of the iceberg. CFAR has so much more to explore and leverage from the free M365 Apps it has access to.

CFAR engages in many projects that involve collecting, monitoring, evaluating, and tracking data in large volumes. The traditional method of data collection, entry, and analysis in Excel is highly laborious and error-prone.

Technology has made these processes easy, fast, streamlined, efficient, and effective. Microsoft Power Apps can be used to build robust data collection tools. Also, Microsoft SharePoint can be used for data storage and retrieval for other projects of CFAR. Apart from this,

  • 1. The SharePoint system can aid in more process automation to make communication more efficient.
  • 2. Dedicated SharePoint sites for different programs can help streamline and categorize data storage and data presentation.
  • 3. With Power Apps and Power Automate, the organization can create employee directories, leave management trackers, inventory management trackers, invoice generators, and processors. Also, other kinds of supporting applications can be built into SharePoint.


Identification and utilization of the resources that are freely available to NPOs can drive them to faster actualization of their goals.

Analytics, insight-building, and dashboards are powerful tools that can fast-track social and institutional changes. And CFAR has leveraged this using the freely available Power BI tool. This has enabled CFAR to clearly understand and present to various stakeholders the social impact bought about by their interventions.

Data collection and data recording applications of Microsoft can be a great precursor to the data analytics phase. These tools will aid CFAR in saving considerable time and effort spent on redundant processes, error corrections, and shift focus towards creating greater impact.

CFAR can evaluate the advantages of the dynamic and technologically advanced method of data analytics and visualization. They can also take further action in utilizing the freely available tools in M365 for the automation of other processes and systems within their organization, as well as other stakeholder projects which involve data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.

Do you have similar challenges in your organization? Take your first definitive step towards creating better and faster impact. 

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