Social impact measurement is complicated. Sometimes it feels like a tangled mess of data, indicators, spreadsheets, and numbers that nobody believes. It doesn’t need to be that way. Not if we build up our impact framework to be a sturdy foundation for our measurement strategy to rest on.
Look at it this way, if you signed up to run a marathon after years of not exercising, would you spend day one of training running the full distance of the race? Probably not. It would we healthier and more effective to gradually work your way up to that distance. You would first build up your core, slowly develop your endurance, and keep at it until you're in solid shape for the day of the race.
Measuring social impact is sort of like that, except instead of our core, it's our impact framework that we need to strengthen.
Getting Started with Impact Management
So, how do we strengthen our impact framework? First, let's better understand what the framework includes. It's a clearly defined impact hypothesis and your method for measuring impact. It covers your Vision, Mission, Goals, Theory of Change, metrics for measuring what matters to your mission, and a few more details here and there.
It's not feasible to will an impact framework into being - we must start small and build up our foundation before we can measure enduring and meaningful metrics. Together with research fellows at the Melbourne Business School, SoPact created Actionable Impact Management (AIM) to outline a path toward a well-defined impact framework. The AIM guidebook series are essentially training manuals to help get organizations get up and running with their measurement strategies. The AIM guidebook series covers:
- VISION, MISSION, & GOALS
- PROGRAM STRUCTURE
- THEORY OF CHANGE
- MANAGING CHANGE
- MEASURE WHAT MATTERS
- STANDARD METRICS ALIGNMENT
- METRICS DATA PIPELINE + TOOLS
- DATA CAPACITY
- DATA TOOLS
- DATA STRATEGY
- STORYTELLING APPROACH
- QUALITY PRINCIPLES
- WHAT TO INCLUDE IN AN IMPACT REPORT
- REACHING THE AUDIENCE
Once we have a way forward to measure social impact, it makes the process much more attainable. We look forward to hearing your feedback about the volumes we have released.