Championing Impact Management
Heather Black, Managing Director at Economic Change CIC, discusses how you can step up your approach to impact management...
Impact measurement is changing. Ahead-of-the curve organisations are embracing a more embedded approach to impact, and adopting a real-time approach. Here’s why.
Impact Management should:
- Prove value to funders and other stakeholders. It’s the most vital part of your brand promise.
- Understand beneficiary needs to innovate, evaluate and change.
- Evaluate performance as part of a continual improvement process.
- Give assurance you are achieving what you set out to do.
- Demonstrating Impact can undoubtedly help with winning new contracts, donors, and sources of investment.
Not sure where to start? To step up your approach to impact management, think about:
Breadth of your organisational impact
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 that makes your organisation unique and competitive.
Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Processes
Train staff and beneficiaries in monitoring and evaluation practices, and actively engage them in the ongoing evaluation and continual improvement process to help shape the project strategy, assess its performance and impact, provide accountability to stakeholders and to influence policy.
Monitoring impact real-time and understand individual beneficiary experience
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, 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 inefficient to maintain and manage as an organisation grows.
Managing change and improving outcomes
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 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.