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A new chapter for Inspiring Impact

By Rachel Tait 28 September 2018

We’re excited to announce that we are bringing together Inspiring Impact and the Impact Management Programme. The combined programme will offer free impact support to charities and social enterprises across the UK.  

In January 2018 I began managing both Inspiring Impact and the Impact Management Programme. Both programmes took different approaches, but each offered free support to charities and social enterprises to help them improve their impact measurement or impact management.  

We know that charities and social enterprises want to create the greatest possible impact for the people they exist to serve. With rising demand and falling funding, they need to turn their resources into the greatest possible impact. They want to understand what’s working so they can improve their impact. And they want to communicate their impact to users, staff, volunteers and funders. And sometimes, they need help.  

For the last nine months, I’ve worked with users, partners, NPC colleagues and funders to explore whether a single combined programme was feasible. We looked critically at both programmes and listened to users to figure out what sort of programme charities and social enterprises want to be part of. All the signs pointed to a combined programme.  

In laying the groundwork for the merger, the list of decisions to make was overwhelming at times. But we tried to start from the big picture—who is our target audience and what change do they want to make? — before dealing with any questions about budgets, partnerships, branding or timelines. Our approach has evolved through leading both programmes and we kept coming back to some key principles that we know will continue to evolve… 

  • Our support will be jargon-free and proportionate so that everyone can identify and implement step by step improvements; 
  • Our activities will be designed with, not for, people so that we understand and respond to user demand; 
  • Our activities will focus on people, not their organisations, so that everyone has a safe space to ask questions and share learning; 
  • We will build on existing partnerships, networks and infrastructure to increase our reach and make our work sustainable; 
  • We will understand funding context and funders’ practices to influence funder behaviour; 
  • Our partnership will use data to respond to what’s working and share this with the wider sector. 

In June 2018 we secured National Lottery funding through Big Lottery Fund to bring the two programmes together under the name Inspiring Impact. We’re partnering with Community Evaluation Northern Ireland, Evaluation Support Scotland, NCVO Charities Evaluation Service, Social Value UK and Wales Council for Voluntary Action to deliver activities across the UK.  

September marks the beginning of the next chapter of Inspiring Impact and we’re excited to experiment and learn as we deliver activities and gather feedback. We want to draw on all the great approaches that different people are taking to measuring and managing their impact and share this work with the rest of the sector.   

If you work for a charity or social enterprise in the UK, you will be able to access a range of free support to help you improve your impact: 

  • Free online tools on an updated website launching in spring 2019 (bringing together the best content from both programme sites);  
  • Specific content for different sectors—for example youth or homeless—so that you can learn from similar organisations; 
  • Face-to-face peer learning events in 5 regions of England and multiple cities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; 
  • Remote peer support via webinars and an online discussion forum; 
  • Grant funding for an impact practice project of your choice. 

To find out more, visit www.inspiringimpact.org.