‘Fit for Impact’ explained

By Dave Ellis, Sported volunteer

Your impact is the long-term difference you make. Dave Ellis is a Sported volunteer who has been supporting our members to improve their understanding of good impact practice and help embed it within their organisations.


In this blog, he guides you through what to expect from our ‘Fit for Impact’ programme in partnership with Inspiring Impact.


“Impact Practice – every Sported member group is already doing it to some degree, even though they might not realise it! All the groups I work with are having a positive impact on improving their community. The difficulty they have is being able to demonstrate this, and know how to sustain it. Impact Practice is a process that, with a little help, member groups can use to better articulate and demonstrate the difference they make.”


‘Are we ready to do this?’

“There will be work to do but this is supported by Sported from beginning to end. Sported will talk you through the process and explain the commitment before the support begins.”


‘Does Fit for Impact mean lots of paperwork and work with computers? Is it complicated?’

“You will be allocated to a Sported volunteer like myself. I worked with two groups on the initial project one small and one quite large, and both benefited.  The first thing is there will be a meeting with the mentor and the group’s representative(s). Impact Practice will be explained and details of the timetable and steps to be taken.


The next meeting is probably one of the most important – ‘Measuring Up.  This is an online self-assessment tool to help you assess your current Impact Practice. It’s like a ‘critical friend’, helping you answer the difficult questions and reflect on how you’re doing. The exercise takes 2-2.5 hours and is carried out with your Sported volunteer. Each question in relation to your current impact practice will give you either a Red, Amber or Green rating. Green meaning things are being done well, Amber – could be done better, or Red – not being done or done well. The key is to be honest as there are no prizes for being all Green!


Notes can be added on what action is planned; this will enable an action plan to be printed later. Essentially, from having a conversation, you come away with the beginnings of your action plan!


The group then reviews these notes with the ‘Measuring Up’ chart and agrees upon the key actions.”


‘Is there a time limit?’

“The Fit for Impact journey takes about 6 months, but embedding your actions may take a little longer. There are time periods set to do each step along the Fit for Impact journey, however these are not set in stone. The two groups I mentored worked at different paces and but still achieved their goals. The process is ongoing and the goal is to improve your impact, but not against a set deadline.”


‘That sounds a big job?’

“Not really, while there may be a number of things to deal with, they don’t all need to be done at once. If any assistance is needed your volunteer can help you. The groups I worked with concentrated on two or three key things to address.”


‘How’s it gone?’

“After a couple of months the group and volunteer get together to review how the action plan is or has gone and identify any further help required.”


‘Is that the end?’

“No, developing good Impact Practice is an ongoing exercise. Whenever it suits, the Measuring Up exercise can be carried out periodically. It’s easier each time because the notes from the previous meeting can be used and updated. Once completed Sported remain available to provide on-going support and resources into the future.”


‘Does it work?’

“Both the groups I work with found it very useful and it enabled them to prove their impact. The larger group identified a need to improve its procedures and be consistent. The group now has impact practice on the minutes of every board meeting.”


‘Can I do it myself?’

“While Sported will provide volunteer support, if you wish you can do it yourself as an online version is available and it can be done at your own pace.”


For more information or to register your interest in the ‘Fit for Impact’ programme, please click here or contact Judith on j.mccomb@sported.org.uk


Sported members can check out our range of additional support and resources to help you develop good impact practice – whatever stage you’re at – on the ‘Your Impact’ pages of Your Sported Network.