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Three ways to improve your impact practice

By Cecilie Hestbaek 19 August 2016

Cecilie Hestbaek works for NPC, and leads the Inspiring Impact programme—a partnership of seven organisations working to make good impact practice the norm by 2022. Here, she outlines how Inspiring Impact tools and initiatives can help third sector organisations of all types and sizes up their impact game.

In my work with Inspiring Impact at NPC, I meet a lot of organisations—charities, funders and social enterprises—that are committed to learning and improving, but stretched for time, resources and know-how. So here are three quick and free ways to help busy organisations improve their impact practice.

Use one of Inspiring Impact’s two brand new self-assessment tools

We at Inspiring Impact have hosted our Measuring Up! tool for a while now. It helps organisations assess how well they’re doing on each of the four areas of the Cycle of good impact practice. Through asking a range of questions, the tool gives you a comprehensive report on all aspects of your impact practice and helps you prioritise which of these to focus on improving.

But based on feedback from users, we’ve just extended these tools so that they can be used effectively by more organisations. The Measuring Up! tool is now even more suitable for:

  • Small organisations: We developed a ‘light’ version of the original tool for those organisations that are small or perhaps a little stretched, but still want to give good impact practice a go. It is tailored to help them develop proportional impact practice.
  • Funders: Organisations and individuals in our network have made clear to us just how important it is to the sector that funders are focused on good impact practice. So we’ve also developed a version of Measuring Up! for funders looking to up their impact game.

Register and use Measuring Up! for free today.

Take advantage of existing shared measurement frameworks

Nobody has time to reinvent the wheel. At NPC, we’ve long called for charities and government to share their measurement tools and data. Using the same broad outcomes and range of tools helps the sector as whole because it allows for comparison and learning. In particular, it brings massive benefits to small charities as they don’t have to develop their own measurement framework, which can be time- and resource-heavy.

Inspiring Impact has developed a shared measurement framework for youth employment and highlighted examples of other sectors using shared measurement here.

If you can’t find anything like this in your sector, why not get in touch with one of Inspiring Impact’s Impact Champions? The Impact Champions are organisations committed to promoting good impact practice. Many of them already do impact measurement in their particular sector, and are likely to have found or developed good tools they could share with you.

Search the Impact Hub to find exactly the right tools for you

If there are no existing shared measurement frameworks for your sector, you need to find your own tools. To make life easier for you, we’ve collected over 200, mostly free, tools and resources on Inspiring Impact’s Impact Hub; whether you’re looking for a guide to economic analysis, evidence of the value of arts, or templates for visualising your impact, the Hub has got it—and if not, we’d love for you to upload tools when you’ve found them.

Head over to the Inspiring Impact website for all the tools and resources mentioned here, as well as publications that can help your impact practice.