Proving impact and improving performance
This stream is still in development and we will be sharing more updates as it comes online. Innoweave will be piloting material for this stream in spring 2019, and opening our supports more broadly in autumn 2019.
Many nonprofits, charities and social enterprises are seeking to better understand how to describe the impact that they are having on the people, organizations and issues they work with. At the same time, there is greater pressure to “demonstrate impact” to funders, boards and other stakeholders. In practice, impact measurement remains challenging – with inconsistent definitions, fragmentation in approaches and methods, and numerous technical and capacity challenges.
How we think about impact measurement
Impact is a term that is often used quite loosely to imply any type of change or progress; however, it requires a more nuanced treatment related to the organization’s theory of change - not only in terms of “proving” that there were positive changes, but also “improving” over time. There are many definitions of impact, but it typically refers to the intended and unintended (positive or otherwise) changes (outputs, outcomes) that occur across the organization (within and/or across its programs) and with its stakeholders (including users, clients, partners, etc.) over a period of time (short term, long term) as a result of the organization’s activities.
Measurement not only seeks to understand what changes occur when, but also why and how. Most nonprofits are familiar with monitoring (tracking short-term outputs and outcomes) and evaluation (assessing longer-term outcomes and impact) approaches. Impact measurement also involves organizing and assessing the evidence base (what we know, what we want to learn), and getting feedback from clients and stakeholders. In this way, impact measurement is not just about “proving” impact, but also about “improving” impact through nurturing a data-driven and evidence-informed culture that promotes results, learning, and constant improvement.
Innoweave Impact Measurement coaching support
Innoweave’s Impact Measurement module will strengthen impact measurement approaches and capacity for nonprofits and charities – by clarifying key concepts, reviewing potential approaches and choices, and applying actionable implementation guidance. This will include:
- Introducing key concepts, issues and challenges in impact measurement
- Provide an overview of various approaches and tools for implementing organizations
- Highlight selected themes to improve measurement practice e.g. evidence and feedback
- Review actionable guidance and strategies that organizations can apply and adapt
- Provide access to coaching support through Innoweave coaches
If you are interested in learning more, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a member of the development team.
- Evaluation in Ontario – a series of publications, presentations, and podcasts from ONN
- SSIR Articles – diverse range of practitioner-focused articles on measurement and evaluation
- Alternatives to Impact Evaluation – despite the misleading title, some good alternatives noted here
- Espace Web: Evaluation et mesure d’impact en économie sociale - Definitions and tools for developing social impact measures
- Better Evaluation – an excellent and comprehensive platform on evaluation options and approaches
- BOND Impact Evaluation Guide – an accessible and practical resource on impact evaluation
- Engaging Boards and Trustees in Strategic Learning – toolkit and questions to promote org learning
- Social Enterprise / Finance
- Systems Change