At the end of the day, the primary objective of a social sector organisation is to provide a realistic and tangible impact on the community. This is fundamentally understood and yet the actual efforts to prove this impact are desperately lacking. In terms of business, this means that we are performing the jobs and work required to provide the service but can’t see the results we are actually making. Not only is this disheartening for the organisations helping without realisation of how much they are affecting, but it also makes the overall impact less effective. The reason is that impact assessment enables organisations to adjust and adapt their efforts on the community, refining it to provide better and better support for those that need it. It is the light that illuminates the unknown and allows us to actually see what is happening, dramatically improving any offerings and efforts.
The Effects of Impact Assessment
Besides the most direct effect of Impact Assessment, there are many other aspects that make it a very valuable tool. One such benefit is the proof of results it provides. With the ability to properly demonstrate the size and scale of support offered to the community it becomes easier to gather additional support for said community. This applies to the general populace as well as other organisations that can offer added support. From small donations to large scale funding and investment, there are many tiers of support that only become truly available when we start providing tangible evidence that our work is causing a positive effect.
In fact, one such form of investment has grown some significant popularity as of late, namely impact bonds. This form of support only becomes available after certain aspects of impact are proven. For each step met and proven, the next stage of investment becomes available. The reason the onus of impact is shifting toward the organisations providing the support is that it provides a better capability to the organisations on the ground. However, on the corporate level, this remains as important since fundamentally these organisations are also trying to provide impact for the investments they make. This essentially means; if you can prove your impact, you can start taking the next steps toward proper growth…
How do we prove I
The proving of impact can be a tricky endeavour, especially for organisations helping the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities. The reason is that impact assessment largely comes from the groups we are making that impact on because they are the ones being affected and therefore best equipped to identify it.
So to start providing concrete evidence of impact we must look to provide our community with the tools to inform us of the impacts being made. This ultimately requires an injection of technology, as this usually provides the cheapest and easiest options for communication. From social media to various apps and more that lift the community up and into the visible spectrum in this attention driven economy. These tools allow us to better connect with the groups we help and understand the effects we are having on them. From there it is a matter of working together with the communities we cater to so we can all see some tangible growth!