Purpose This paper aims to talk briefly about IFLA's experiences with funders' evaluation requirements and the difficulties of finding an evaluation methodology that is appropriate for the type of international activities IFLA engages in. Design/methodology/approach This review is based on IFLA's decision to increase the emphasis on evaluating the impact of its activities, especially through the use of impact assessment. The method was used as a trial in 2009 to evaluate FAIFE's activities. Findings This paper discusses the need for success stories and best practice in IFLA's advocacy work, and suggests that impact assessment offers a way to show the real value of library work to key partners and stakeholders. Originality/value The paper presents an overview of current thinking and progress in IFLA.