Impact Management vs Impact Measurement
Organisations are traditionally supported to develop theory of change models, collate monitoring reports to funders on hard outcomes and use mass data collection tools that channel data into spreadsheets for analysis – but I would argue that this approach doesn’t really assess the real-time performance and impact of a service, or give you the detailed insight into the journey experienced by a specific beneficiary on a programme.
The exciting new trend towards ‘Impact Management’ is now being championed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, through their new Impact Management Programme.
According to Access: “Impact management refers to an organisations’ ability to quantify, report on, increase and get paid for their impact.” It’s about integrating impact reporting into strategy and performance management, and regularly analysing and responding to impact data – actually using it to change and improve programmes and services.
At Economic Change, we have focused on developing impact management solutions for non-profits over the last 5 years and we believe there are some key ingredients to its success:
- Tracking and evaluating impact real-time, rather than just part of an interim or end-of-evaluation reporting process. We help organisations to put impact management at the heart of the organisation by embedding it within their everyday processes and job roles.
- Planning your impact strategy, and using CRM (such as Salesforce) and a range of integrated tools to capture personal, delivery and impact data within daily tasks, and collate it centrally within one system.
- Continually tracking performance at an individual level, or at an aggregated level for analysis and evaluation via dashboards mean that you will know how you’re are performing at any given point in time.
- Implementing Impact Management for wining new contracts, and sources of investment.
Client Case Study: UpRising
“We embedded Salesforce CRM into our national and local programme management, creating a rigorous management system that allows us to track our key performance indicators and monitor the progression of our programmes across the year. From the very first contact, a young person’s journey with us is tracked and stored, from their initial expression of interest through their engagement on the programme; from the opportunities they take part in as an alumnus to their future contribution back in to the programmes as a speaker, mentor or volunteer. This allows us to report accurate data on key outputs and outcomes such as volunteer hours, alumni contribution, number of speakers, improvements in skills and advancement into leadership positions. Salesforce is already making a huge difference to how effective and efficient we can be.” Alice Memminger, CEO UpRising
You can read the whole case study here.
To step up your approach to Impact Management, think about…
- [highlight dark=”no”]The breadth of your organisational impact[/highlight] – Don’t just focus on measuring outcomes for commissioners or funders, but develop an organisational-wide impact strategy that enables you to assess your performance and impact against the organisation’s mission, quality standards, social responsibility and the breadth of services you offer. Why is this important, you ask? Well, in a crowded market place many organisations can claim standardised outcomes to funders, but it’s being able to demonstrate the quality and depth of the customer experience and any added value impact that you create which makes your organisation unique and competitive.
- [highlight dark=”no”]Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Process[/highlight] – Train staff and beneficiaries in monitoring and evaluation practices and engage them in the ongoing evaluation and continual improvement process to help shape the project strategy, assess it’s performance and impact, provide accountability to stakeholders and to influence policy.
- [highlight dark=”no”][highlight dark=”no”]Monitor impact real-time[/highlight] and understand individual beneficiary experience[/highlight] – Investing in a client relationship management system (CRM) will enable an organisation to monitor delivery, outcomes and feedback at the individual level to provide better more intuitive relationships with beneficiaries. A CRM however also allows for data within records to be aggregated within a dashboard to give a full picture about the extent and cost of intervention provided and the associated impact being achieved to assess performance. It’s time to do away with using spreadsheets or stand-alone surveys that lose the personal history of interaction and are cumbersome to maintain and manage as an organisation grows.
- [highlight dark=”no”]Managing change and improving outcomes for clients[/highlight] – Efficient Impact Management often requires a change in daily processes with an increasing use of technology. This can require a cultural shift in working practices of staff which needs to be managed. Adopting new systems and digital processes aims to give staff more transparency and control over the journey of their client, and staff in the charitable sector are motivated by helping their clients achieve positive outcomes. A change management strategy therefore needs to focus on involving and helping staff see the positive benefits this change in approach can bring, as opposed to it being an admin chore or compliance requirement.
Economic Change CIC provides training and consultancy services in the areas of Impact Management. Find out more here.
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To find out more and get involved in the impact management programme led by Access and it’s partners visit www.accessimpact.org