Effect management is essential to keep your organization running smoothly and making a difference. When teams work at optimal productivity and output is of the highest quality, then the organization is positioned for impactful growth.
Whether you work in agriculture, logistics, social governance, or education, impact management practices are essential to achieve the mission.
There are several ways to integrate impact management practices in your organization. Each supports the ongoing practice of measuring, assessing, and improving impacts on sustainability issues.
Following these techniques can help with the investment process and streamline productivity.
1. Continuous Evidence Building
Evidence building shouldn’t be an isolated process. Rather than delegate the task to siloed teams, everyone should be involved in evidence generation.
There are several ways to build evidence on an ongoing basis, and the method depends entirely on the team. Adapt the process to best suit your team depending on the size of your nonprofit.
For example, a third-party evaluation may be beneficial to execute a deep statistical analysis. The analysis can be useful to get to the heart of a program’s impact. In other instances, simpler methods are better suited. For example, discussing learning questions and revealing insights.
Regardless of the method, rigor is essential for evidence building, making sure that the best tool is chosen for the job. Prioritizing rigorous evidence building will lead to relevant evidence to help make the best decisions for the sake of the organization’s cause - on a consistent basis.
2. Participant-Centered Program Management and Feedback
Using evidence as a driving force for decision-making is only one of the steps required for a holistic impact. Another critical practice is to gather feedback from participants. Make an effort to gather feedback from those benefiting from the program, those volunteering time, and investors.
There are several ways to gather the information needed to improve. Focus groups, interviews, surveys, and casual conversations are all effective in finding out about the organization’s perceived strengths and weaknesses.
Take the time to chat with frontline staff who have hands-on experience with participants, and look closely at the evidence that is gathered. Depending on the project, certain insights will be more valuable than others.
For example, an organization that plans extra-curricular activities at a school to counter street violence may experience dwindling numbers during the winter months. Looking at the data and talking with participants could reveal that they don’t have the means to get home safely in the dark and the cold. The problem can be solved by adjusting the times or providing transport.
3. Integrated Impact and Finance Management
While nonprofits are typically motivated by a passionate cause and impact, finances are essential to make a difference. Impact management involves looking closely at the mission and margin, considering how both will be affected by new revenue opportunities or expense reductions. Set up time to learn more about integrated financial management with our team.
Certain opportunities may be rejected as it doesn’t align with the theory of change. Instead, funding should be pursued based on achieving outcomes. Prioritizing these outcomes when making financial decisions is a fundamental impact management practice.
Ultimately, nonprofits need to prioritize impact in each of their projects. Incorporating impact management practices helps to achieve meaningful results on an ongoing basis.