The world we are moving into is one that is not accepting the notion that all good efforts lead to good impact. Although this new ideology challenges our organizations, efforts, and projects, it brings with it accountability, transparency, and reform.
If we are prepared, we can be a part of the shaping of this new era. Before moving forward, be sure to gain the trust and backing of your stakeholders. Be sure that there is collective organizational intention to take the activities seriously. You will need to work together – from the Executive Director to the program coordinators to the interns to the Board.
Fair warning, once you have completed your new impact measurement strategy and you are ready to implement it in your organization, you might find some resistance from your colleagues. This is natural; people have a natural fear of change. Breaking the status quo brings uncertainty and anxiety. Before you embark on this journey to improve your impact measurement strategy, know that it will require change…in your organization’s mindset, in your operations, maybe even in your tools and technology. But if you succeed to engage your organization in this journey, the results will be amazing.
Here are some tips to achieve the level of involvement that you require in order for your organization to succeed.
INVOLVE KEY STAKEHOLDERS
Invite key stakeholders to be part of the preparation, especially those affected by or driving the changes, i.e. leadership, program managers, etc.
Communicate your intent to implement or improve the impact measurement strategy. In the beginning, this might be done through information sessions open to anyone interested in learning more about the new impact measurement process. Remember that people are motivated by the outcome. Be sure to expose the need for change to the whole organization and clearly describe how the change will benefit each area of the organization.
BREAK IT DOWN
Don’t try to boil the ocean – start small. A small change is easier to control and observe the results. As you go along, small wins will motivate staff. In this case, you might go by Volumes: The Actionable Impact Management framework is already broken into 4 steps (Groundwork; Metrics; Data; Impact Report) that might serve as a reasonable guideline for your organization’s bite-sized chunks.
IDENTIFY KEY AGENTS OF CHANGE
Identify the early adopters within the different departments – the individuals that seem most excited about the potential change and who want to be part of it. Next, provide those individuals with training so that they are well-versed in the objectives and goals along with the methodologies and tools that will be used to apply them. Throughout the process, these are the individuals you will want to keep informed and updated. They will help keep everyone else updated as well. Be sure to listen to their feedback. All this feedback will help you make small adjustments to make the change smoother.
Recognize those making the effort to adopt the new process. Show how the benefits are starting to happen. Communicate how this new impact strategy is helping your organization, either in terms of efficiency, effectiveness or any other element that is relevant to your organization’s culture. Try to adapt the implementation process around the organic inclinations of those involved.
INVEST IN INNOVATION
Well thought out technology tools can make the process a lot simpler and easy for stakeholder engagement. Using multiple tools which are not made for impact data management can be very time consuming and resource draining in long run.