1. The Cycle of Good Impact Practice
There are four main areas of activity that make up Impact Practice; PLAN, DO, ASSESS and REVIEW. This forms the ‘Cycle of Good Impact Practice’.
PLAN: This is about identifying your desired impact. What is the change you want to see? What is the long-term difference – the impact – you want your work to have? And how can you deliver this? How do you know that what you do will lead to this change?
DO: The ‘DO’ section of the cycle is where you deliver the work – and essentially ‘make the impact’! This is also when you might collect any monitoring or data around the impact.
ASSESS: It is important that you do something with this data – taking the time to make sense of the information you’ve collected will allow you to draw conclusions about the impact you’ve had, and compare this to your original plan. Are you doing better than you thought, or that your work is having a positive impact on something you never even thought about?
REVIEW is about how you learn from your findings and use them to improve your work. This will feed into the planning for the next programme, the next season, or even allow you to share ‘what works’ with other groups in your area. Communicating information about your impact is really important, and celebrating the impact your work is having on young people!
Watch the short video from DISCOVER for more information on the Cycle.
2. The Code of Good Impact Practice
The Code of Good Impact Practice has been developed by Inspiring Impact and provides broad, agreed guidelines for focusing on impact. Alongside the Cycle, there are eight high level principles to follow:
CODE OF IMPACT PRACTICE
Take responsibility for impact and encourage others to do so too
Focus on purpose
Involve others in your Impact Practice
Apply proportionate and appropriate methods and resources
Consider the full range of the difference you actually make
Be honest and open
Be willing to change and act on what you find
Actively share your impact plans, methods, findings and learning
It is unlikely that there are any principles listed here that your group is not already working towards, committed to, or would have a problem supporting. The Code simply acts as a means of focusing this work around impact.
You can ‘pledge your support’ to the Code, showing your commitment to developing your Impact Practice. We explain how to do so in the ‘Committing your Support’ section below. Before you ‘pledge’, it’s important to think about what these principles really mean for your group. We suggest you read the following (click to download):
In this document, there is a brief description of how your Impact Practice would look if you were applying each principle, an explanation of why it is important and some ideas about how to implement it.
Putting the Code into Practice
This document includes some more practical hints and tips – things to think about as you seek to put the priniciples of the Code into practice within your own group / organisation.
3. What do I need to do to commit my support?
Developing good Impact Practice could mean changing how you currently think about your impact, or how you deliver some of your programmes / services. Our members have told us that this works a lot better when your committee or key stakeholders understand and support these changes. It will be important to ensure you have the support of your committee & leaders by clearly communicating why you are making these changes, or how you are developing your Impact Practice.
Sported have developed a number of resources to help you ensure their understanding and support (click to download):
This short document highlights 5 key questions your group’s leaders or committee should consider around Impact Practice.
To help explain Impact Practice to your committee / leaders, we have developed this short powerpoint presentation which you can use as a template.
Top Tips for ensuring committee buy-in
• Be persuasive in your communication – enthusiastically promote the value of Impact Practice. Highlight that it’s about why you exist!
• Use practical examples from other Sported member groups. There are ‘case study’ examples of how it has helped other member groups here.
• Discuss how Impact Practice could benefit your group – how could you prove and improve the difference you make?
• Acknowledge the different roles within the committee and where they can develop their Impact Practice (the ‘Are You Leading for Impact’ document is helpful here!). Remember, developing your impact is not a one-time nor a one-person job; it is important to assign shared responsibility.
Once you have the support of your committee and leaders, and have considered what it would mean for your group to apply the principles of the Code, you can pledge your support to the Code on the Inspiring Impact website. ‘Pledging’ does not necessarily mean you have everything in place, but shows your commitment to develop and improve your Impact Practice.
ACTION: Pledge your support here
Once you’ve pledged, your group will be listed on the Inspiring Impact webpage. You can also take a look at the other groups or funders that have pledged their support to the Code. Good Impact Practice is spreading right throughout the VCSE sector!
4. How does your Impact Practice measure up?
Measuring Up! is a straightforward, step-by-step, online self-assessment tool that allows organisations to review and improve their organisation’s Impact Practice. Measuring Up! has been designed by Inspiring Impact, specifically for charitable organisations and social enterprises, whatever your size, sector or budget. The assessment can be completed by organisations large and small, newly-founded or well-established, and by people who are new to, or experienced in thinking about their impact.
How does it work?
• Assesses Impact Practice against indicators across the four sections of the Cycle: plan, do, assess, and review
• Maps the gaps and generates pie charts illustrating current practice on completion
• Produces a semi-populated action plan
• Tracks improvement by revisiting the tool periodically
Following the four areas of the Cycle (Plan, Do, Assess and Review), the Measuring Up! assessment asks a series of questions, which you assess your group as being ‘fully met’, ‘partially met’ or ‘not met’. Essentially, the tool acts as your “critical friend”, allowing your group to explore the more difficult questions around your Impact Practice.
Inspiring Impact has designed two versions of Measuring Up! – one for small organisations and one for larger. They both follow the exact same format and have the same functionality – the only difference is the number of questions! If Impact Practice is new to you, we recommend you complete the ‘smaller organisation’ assessment. If you’re experienced in Impact Practice or measurement & evaluation, you may be interested in the more in-depth, larger tool.
Click here to download an explanation of the tool, along with some top tips from our member groups who have used the assessment tool.
• REQUEST HELP with doing your first Measuring Up! session.
Some of our members have found it easier for someone external to facilitate the first Measuring Up! discussion session. You can request this support from one of our Light Touch volunteers. Complete the short form here, selecting the area of Evaluation & Impact, and stating the support is around Measuring Up!.
5. What do I do next?
Completing Measuring Up! will generate a semi-populated action plan, which will include your assessment ‘score’ and any notes entered during the self-assessment process. This action plan is produced as an Excel document, which can be downloaded, saved and printed out. You can then use this document to add detailed actions, activities, responsibilities and timeframes, to form a comprehensive action plan that you can use to ‘keep you on track’ as you’re developing your Impact Practice.