Whose Role is it Anyway? Approaching Impact Measurement
This seems to be a topic of much debate within non-profits, as often they can’t finance a dedicated Impact Measurement role. So then it lies with the person it matters most to, as without the relevant statistics, it will impact their ability to do their job.
Each month we run group Impact Measurement courses, and predominantly we would say it’s usually the Business Development or Fundraising Manager attending. However when their role is focused on fundraising, it’s a stretch on their time to manage the creation of an impact report.
So let’s look at the motivations, what’s involved and who should actually be sitting round the table.
What are the motivations for doing an impact report? Four reasons to Measure your Impact:
- [highlight dark=”no”]Internal Review[/highlight] checks if the organisation is achieving its mission against the level of quality and performance expected, by reviewing customer satisfaction. This provides assurance to the management team and employees that they are achieving what they set out to do.
- [highlight dark=”no”]Income Generation[/highlight] helps the organisation to demonstrate its positive impact and social responsibility as an organisation, and success at delivering a particular service and tackling a cause, when bidding for a new funding or contracts or producing marketing and communications material to attract new funds, investment or sales.
- [highlight dark=”no”]External Transparency and Accountability[/highlight] provides accountability to key stakeholders e.g. clients, funders or investors as it demonstrates what you have actually achieved using the investment they have provided, and assesses value for money.
- [highlight dark=”no”]Market Research[/highlight] helps to gather data about a need and demand for a service to influence policy, innovate and change levels of current service provision in response to beneficiary need.
What is the Process?
- Define your desired outcome – we suggest producing a 10 page Impact Measurement Framework document, which sets out what data you collect, why, how to collect, analyse and evaluate this data, and what you do with the collated information.
- To kick start the process we would recommend you hold an internal workshop with interested parties (see suggested invitees below), with the aim to identify a Core Champion Group, to discuss priorities, roles and responsibilities, and create an action plan for next steps with clear roles and responsibilities.
- Following this workshop, there is likely to be a need to undertake market research with key stakeholders, a review of stakeholder data collection requirements and methods, a review of digital technology and a review of stakeholder management processes and quality compliance procedures.
- A series of follow up workshops should be planned to discuss and consolidate findings and feedback, with an appointed Project Manager to manage the process and consolidate the information to produce the final impact framework document.
Who should be involved in the discussion?
We would recommend setting up a Core Champion Group which may consist of internal staff and some external experts to give you the right skills, expertise and commitment to see the whole journey through – from mapping out what needs to be done, through to producing the end product – the annual impact report. As a starting point I would recommend that people with the following interests are invited, and following the workshop those with an important role in project management, management processes, compliance are secured:
[highlight dark=”no”]Senior Management[/highlight] – A senior director should be involved in the process to sponsor and champion that time and resource are spent on this activity and to make sure that the team members are supported and held to account to deliver on it.
[highlight dark=”no”]Business Development[/highlight] – This could be a fundraiser, bid writer or sales person, who understands what is important to the funder, commissioner or purchaser and must be able to clearly articulate how your organisation measures impact, and what it’s achievements have been to date (which should align with different stakeholder needs).
[highlight dark=”no”]Service Delivery [/highlight]– Ideally this person would represent the views of the team involved in service delivery. They should be responsible for collecting information about partner interests, beneficiary needs, goals, outputs, outcomes and feedback. They will have a direct role in managing any change to data collection requirements, team processes and tools used to collect information.
[highlight dark=”no”]Marketing and Communications[/highlight] – This individual should be an expert on your external stakeholders, what the media are interested in hearing about and what type of case studies or statistics might be most relevant to gather to help demonstrate the value your organisation brings. They should also take a key role in helping to produce your branded communications e.g. theory of change, infographics, videos and impact reports.
[highlight dark=”no”]Research, Policy & Campaigning [/highlight]– This individual should be an expert in sector research, policy and market need. They should be able to be contribute information on key stats in the sector that measure the gravity of the situation and what indicators are being used to measure improvements in the sector, so your framework is aligned to local, national or indeed international policies or best practice frameworks.
[highlight dark=”no”]IT [/highlight]– This individual will be providing support around use of digital technology for data collection and analysis whether it’s putting in place a database, online forms, web-chat facility, text messaging service, etc. to implement new integrated monitoring processes.
[highlight dark=”no”]Compliance[/highlight] – This individual will be responsible for quality assurance of internal functions and work towards achieving quality marks such as Investors in People, Customer First, Matrix, Green Mark, and their role will be to ensure that quality procedures are tracked, reviewed and maintained as part of compliance.
[highlight dark=”no”]Human Resources[/highlight] – This individual will manage employees and volunteers and gather information around needs, investment, support, satisfaction and achievements. They might also take a compliance role by changing job specifications or contracts in light of a change to daily job tasks and roles as a result of new impact measurement process.
To understand the process more, why not join our next Impact Measurement Workshop, or invite us to host your first workshop in-house. We are here to help to provide a structure to your impact measurement journey!