Leaders in the sector have a critical role to play to embed an impact approach throughout their work. Inspiring Impact’s work on impact leadership aims to help charities and social enterprises know what good impact practice looks like, and encourage good impact leadership so they can take steps to improve. This work is led by NCVO and ACEVO.
Inspiring Impact aims to provide clarity about what good impact measurement practice looks like, to help charities and social enterprises measure better. This report is available in English, Welsh and Portuguese.
Inspiring Impact makes the case for an impact approach, exploring the benefits – including how focusing on impact can help improve services, motivate frontline staff and reduce monitoring burdens – and weighing these against the costs of measurement.
Putting the Code into practice
In June 2013, Inspiring Impact launched The Code of Good Impact Practice (The Code). The Code sets out a cycle of impact practice and a series of high-level principles for organisations to apply in focusing on their impact.
In Year 2, we wanted to delve deeper into how organisations are bringing The Code to life in practical terms by organising a series of learning forums with practitioners who are leading impact practice in their organisations.
The forums consisted of full days of facilitated discussions, external input, and peer learning groups. The group shared their challenges in embedding impact practice and their ideas and experience around what has worked in their organisation.
This document is an attempt to pull together the rich learning that came out of the forums and apply it to The Code. In doing so, we hope to help other organisations also looking to improve their impact practice to have a better idea of how they, too, can do so in line with The Code.
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The Code of Good Impact Practice has been developed through a sector-wide public consultation and the input of a working group of 17 organisations. Many non-profit organisations understand the need for good impact practice and want to get better at it. But they can encounter different definitions, confusing explanations, multiple methods, and sometimes contradictory advice.
The Code of Good Impact Practice provides broad, agreed guidelines for focusing on impact. It sets out a cycle of impact practice and eight high level principles to follow. Each principle includes a brief description of how your impact practice would look if you were applying the principle, an explanation of why it is important and some ideas about how to implement it.
The cycle and principles that make up this document are valid for all kinds of non-profit organisations. They’re also intended to help funders and commissioners have a realistic and appropriate understanding of good impact practice for non-profit organisations.
The Code was first launched in June 2013 at NCVO’s Evolve conference. It has been widely distributed since then and now forms the basis of training conducted by Inspiring Impact with organisations across the UK.
We are delighted to see the Code translated for our Welsh speaking colleagues and hope they will also benefit from its clear guidelines as they seek to improve the way they think about and understand the impact of their work.
Between 19th February and 5th April, NCVO – on behalf of Inspiring Impact – released a draft version of The Code of Good Impact Practice for further public consultation. This draft had been the subject of several weeks of consultation with a working group of representatives from across the sector and the Code was published for wider consultation in order to ensure that the final version will be as useful and relevant as possible for all non-profit organisations.
The consultation was publicised widely via the Inspiring Impact partner networks and through the sector press. It received a good level of engagement, with approximately 130 responses captured via a combination of individual and group survey submissions on behalf of charities, social enterprises, community groups, infrastructure bodies, public sector bodies, charitable trusts, and monitoring and evaluation specialists.
This consultation response highlights the key themes that emerged and clearly identifies how, following further consultation with the Code working group, certain suggestions have been incorporated to improve the Code. Where suggestions have not led to changes is also explained.
Learning from examples is a key part of embedding an impact approach into your organisation’s work. Evaluation Support Scotland has produced a short report profiling three organisations in Scotland with a pioneering approach to impact measurement to help others identify what good impact measurement looks like.
This case study report builds on NPC’s report A journey to greater impact, showcasing three additional ‘bright spots’ from Scotland. These case studies highlight some of the benefits of impact measurement identified in NPC’s report.
The case studies not only champion the Case for an Impact Approach, but also illustrate how they apply in their day-to-day work the principles set out in the Code of Good Impact
Based on a mix of desk research and interviews with voluntary sector chief executives, Are you leading for impact? asks leaders in the voluntary sector to reflect on five questions relating to impact.
The document is structured around these five questions, with most of the content based on case studies of individual voluntary sector leaders and the work they are doing to plan, understand and improve the impact they have. We hope that the questions and case studies will encourage you to think more about your impact, and to act on your reflections.
When we talk about ‘focusing on impact’, we do not just mean measuring impact, important though that is. Instead we mean thinking strategically about what impact you want to have and how best to achieve it, assessing what impact you’re having, communicating this information and learning from it.