As a programme about improving impact practice, we take measuring our own impact very seriously. This throws up many questions. How do we attribute practical change back to Inspiring Impact? How do we ensure we have long-term impact? What indicators should we use? Our position as a capacity-building programme—working with organisations rather than directly with beneficiaries—makes measurement complex. This is why we’ve mapped the change we intend to bring about using a theory of change approach.
Our approach is based on our theory of change. A theory of change describes the change a charity or social enterprise wants to make, the steps involved in making that change happen, and the assumptions involved. We have developed a theory of change for Inspiring Impact which sets out how our five different themes combine to achieve our long-term outcomes. To enable us to monitor our outputs and short-term outcomes we have also developed a theory of change for each project under our five themes.
We are now in the third year of a ten-year programme, and our intended pathway to creating impact over this timeframe is mapped out in our theory of change. Our current monitoring and reporting focuses on indicators of early engagement, which, according to our theory, are likely to lead to short-term outcomes in awareness and knowledge building. The logic in our theory of change assumes that building knowledge and skills will lead to taking action. We intend to test this hypothesis at the end of this year in time for next year’s annual report.
In the first two years of Inspiring Impact, we focused on building a solid collaborative network and knowledge building. By engaging key organisations across all strands of our work and investing in these partnerships early on, we built an eager community keen to be part of the Inspiring Impact agenda. We produced a number of significant publications to help build knowledge across each strand of work and launched two practical tools for organisations to start assessing and improving their impact practices. These outputs are vital to achieving the short-term outcomes outlined in our theory of change and we intend to monitor our progress towards these at the end of this year. We intend to do this through case studies, distance travelled metrics and quantitative surveys of stakeholders involved in the programme.
In the longer term, we will monitor our long-term outcomes through sector-wide surveys, building on the results of NPC’s impact measurement survey conducted in summer 2013 and 2014, which we will use as a baseline.
All eight Inspiring Impact partners will provide monitoring reports to the Inspiring Impact Board every six months to help us assess whether we are making the progress we should be. We will produce an annual impact report summarising our achievements and drawing out lessons for Inspiring Impact, and for capacity-building programmes generally, which will be published on this website.
Building a movement: Review of the Inspiring Impact programme
In summer 2015, to mark the three years since the programme’s launch and to look ahead to the next the next three years, NPC conducted a review of Inspiring Impact on behalf of the programme’s partners.
Building a movement summarises the review’s findings, outlines the progress of the Inspiring Impact programme so far, and highlights opportunities for the future development of the programme.