How can impact frameworks drive growth and build your reputation? By definition, purpose-driven organisations want to make an impact. That is, they want to act in ways that benefit people and contribute to worthy causes.
But how, exactly, do you make a real impact?
It’s a challenging question. The short answer is that for many leaders, it’s not easy. Making an impact takes time, focus and careful attention to detail – among many other things.
As we explained here, impact is best defined as long-term, sustainable and positive change.
Impact-driven organisations are less concerned with short-term initiatives and programs that don’t provide participants a longer-term benefit. Leaders understand that achieving impact is a long game requiring strategic thinking, persistence and commitment.
But that’s not all.
At ImpactInstitute, we developed a model to demonstrate the value an organisation can realise when it collects evidence of impact.
It also illustrates how this evidence contributes to improved program development, storytelling and an organisation’s growth potential.
The goal was to illustrate how leaders can enable real impact and foster sustainable growth.
Here’s how it works.
Evidence of impact is available if an organisation has defined and measured its impact. That impact could be environmental, social or governance-related (ESG), for example. Those two elements – defined and measured – each represent a program of work.
Defined: An organisation’s leadership, team, resources and funds must be aligned to define the impact desired.
Measured: To ensure the desired impact is an expression of the organisation’s purpose, leaders must clarify how impact will be measured, and what data will be collected as evidence of impact.
Once an organisation has established evidence of impact, the focus moves to how this evidence can inform the development of programs, activities, services or products.
In the social sector, this could be community programs or support provided to individuals. In the corporate sector, it could be the company-wide transformation sparked by an application to become a B Corp.
The key idea here is Continuous Development. Programs, services or initiatives are not ‘fixed’ with a one-off mindset. Leaders ask: what programs should we stop, start, enhance, change or scale?
Backing up a little, evidence of impact can also influence an organisation’s storytelling. Every organisation has a story it shares with customers, clients and stakeholders.
The challenge, as we observed above, is how can organisations best communicate the positive difference they’re making in the world?
The answer is using evidence of long-term, sustainable and positive impact to drive your storytelling.
Data and facts combined with case studies, testimonials and other forms of storytelling provide a forum where intellect and emotions are engaged to demonstrate change and transformation.
Finally, we arrive at Growth. This stage of the impact journey describes a scenario where an organisation is growing sustainably into the future, supported by new customers, supporters, staff and revenue streams.
The organisation is sustainable – that is, it can expect to thrive and remain healthy over a long period of time – because it’s continuously developing programs and effectively communicating its impact story.
For leaders, and the organisation as a whole, it’s an exciting scenario. Using evidence to inform strategies, plans and decisions builds confidence, brings people together and helps the organisation realise its vision.
Here are few important questions for reflection.
- How well is your purpose being experienced by your customers or clients?
- Has your organisation defined its desired impact and implemented a program to ensure that impact is being measured?
- Does evidence inform your program development and storytelling?
Get in contact and we’d love to talk about your impact journey.
Click here and you can also complete our confidential Impact Index survey. We’ll send you a complimentary First Impressions Report that helps identify where you organisation is located on the impact journey.
Written by: Mark Jones and David Jack.
For more information visit: Impact Advisory