In Forum One’s recent webinar on measuring impact, we shared how we define and approach impact and broke down a winning recipe for building impact opportunity statements. We also discussed the challenges of measuring impact and how to overcome them. While tackling the challenges involved with impact, it’s important to build a foundation for measuring impact.
Forum One defines impact as “a significant, positive change as a result of an action’s outcomes.” Impact happens through a series of elements such as:
- Inputs. Time, money, expertise use for a project
- Activities. Tasks that help create a “product”
- Output. The resulting “product”
- Outcomes. Quantitative changes as a result
Impact is then the end result caused by outputs and outcomes. As an example of outcomes versus impact, if an organization sees a 200% increase in program applications and a 300% increase in social media reach, that is the outcome. The impact is what the social media campaign inspired in a new generation of individuals looking to get involved in their mission, thus increasing the organization’s ability to provide quality programming to people around the world.
So how do you create and measure impact? Start by building Impact Opportunity Statements.
Impact opportunity statements
An impact opportunity statement is the ultimate change we hope to see as the result of our work. It can be lofty, but it should remain attainable because it is the destination you are tracking toward. We’ve created a recipe card that you can download below to get started on making your own impact opportunity statements. We’ve also answered some of the most common questions our clients have asked about using these statements.
How do I use impact opportunity statements?
The statements can be a way to prioritize and review the tasks completed by your teams.
- List the tasks your team completes on a regular basis.
- Map those tasks to your impact opportunity statements.
- If you’re spending time on a task not tied to any of your statements, consider stopping.
- Looking at each task, and the impact it’s trying to achieve, could you approach any of the tasks differently to make them more impactful?
When do I use your impact statements?
- During quarterly or annual planning.
- As a guiding endpoint to craft outcome and impact measurement plans.
- When you are trying to make a decision about how to use your time and resources.
- To guide decisions around what kind of research you might need to meet your audiences’ needs and create a baseline for impact measurement.
- To gut check if what you are working on is the right thing.
Impact measurement is a powerful framework for aiding in decision-making and prioritization; however, be open to stopping activities you may have been doing for a long time, or be open to doing things differently if what you’re currently doing isn’t yielding the outcomes and impact you desire.
The Winning Recipe for Building Impact Opportunities Guide walks you through each step of creating your Impact Opportunity Statements.