As a programme about improving impact practice, we take measuring our own impact very seriously. We measure our reach as well as the change we have contributed to in the sector.
What have we achieved so far?
We are having a significant influence on the sector, but there is still work to do. A survey and interviews carried out with our network members in 2017 told us that:
• Motivation and engagement in impact practice across the sector is high. Inspiring Impact’s resources are used and shared: 65% of respondents had read, shared with colleagues or skimmed the Code of Good Impact Practice. One in four (24%) started the Measuring Up! self-assessment and one in four had used the Resource Hub. Some of the most popular resources users accessed include: guidance on writing surveys, developing measurement frameworks, writing reports and data visualisation materials.
• Awareness of good impact practice has increased, and it is widely understood as the entire impact cycle (plan, do, assess, review). Three out of four (76%) survey respondents said their organisation’s impact practice improved significantly or a bit in the last 12 months and 65% stated their organisational knowledge of impact practice improved a great deal or a fair amount in the last year. We could improve the way we communicate why good impact practice is required and how organisations can access tools.
• Barriers organisations face in achieving better impact practice and using Inspiring Impact resources include: culture issues, lack of time or dedicated evaluation staff and a lack of understanding of how to get started using the available tools. Half of our survey respondents (49%) accessed support around their impact practice in the last year.
Who is using Inspiring Impact’s resources and networks?
Our website receives about 2000 unique visitors each month. The number of people signed up to the network has increased significantly in the last 12 months to over 2000. Our social media presence is also growing steadily: we now have more than 2700 Twitter followers and 1100 members on the Inspiring Impact network LinkedIn group.
Our off-line networks are also developing and becoming increasingly responsive to members’ needs. The Impact Champions network has 26 members in England and 13 in Northern Ireland. We have completed one Sub-Sector partnership in the sports sector, and we are now working with the sight-loss, mental health and infrastructure sectors, as well as exploring other opportunities.
Review of the Inspiring Impact programme
In summer 2015, to mark the three years since the programme’s launch and to look ahead, New Philanthropy Capital conducted a review of Inspiring Impact on behalf of the programme’s partners. The findings of this review have been summarised in a report called Building a movement which outlines the progress of the Inspiring Impact programme so far, and highlights opportunities for the future development of the programme.
Out theory of change
Our position as a capacity-building programme makes measurement complex. How do we attribute practical change back to Inspiring Impact? How do we ensure we have long-term impact? What indicators should we use? We have mapped the change we intend to bring about using a theory of change approach.
Inspiring Impact’s theory of change articulates the change we want to make and the steps involved in making it happen. It incorporates all the strands of our work and shows how they combine to achieve our long-term outcomes.
Inspiring Impact’s 5 key evaluation questions: