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Theory Of Change

Bringing impact to life…

Identifying the impact of your projects can sometimes feel like a distraction.  This is particularly the case when your instincts and intuition tell you the project was a success or your target groups and stakeholders can’t stop raving about the experience. Impact measurement comes with a range of advantages from shaping the way you plan future projects to raising the profile of your organisation. It tells a valuable story of the change that is experienced by your stakeholders.

For creative enterprises impact measurement helps us to promote the value of the arts. Collective intelligence, knowledge sharing and open data is essential to creating social change. Data is a catalyst for social innovation and can lead to unique and amazing solutions. Alternatively we can think of impact measurement as a means of proving and improving that which we already know.

The theory of change

Creative Training Hub is looking at the Theory of Change as an effective model to help organisations identify and measure the impact of their projects. Starting with clear project aims and objectives, an understanding of the projects inputs and outputs, you will begin to identify the outcomes and short to long-term impact experienced by your project’s stakeholders. In short, the theory of change tells the story of how change is created. It shows the relationship between input, output and outcomes (from the stakeholder’s perspective).

There are a range of tools and techniques you can use to explore the changes that your stakeholders and beneficiaries have experienced, from surveys, interviews, focus groups, feedback forms, testimonials and the list goes on.  It is good practice to draw on a range of tools when measuring your impact and to have a healthy balance of qualitative and quantitative data.

Here are four key stages to measuring the impact of your work

 1. Identify the impact

You can start the process by identifying the benefits that your stakeholder’s have experienced as a result of your project. This on its own can be regarded as a little ‘fluffy’ and ‘subjective’, so it is advisable to move to step 2.

2. How big is the impact?

Using indicators is a way of assessing the level of change experienced by your stakeholders. Your project outputs (those tangible aspects that you can count easily) can make useful key performance indicators. You can also use partnership agreements, attendance figures, census data to set benchmarks and to monitor the changes. Speaking to your stakeholders is the best way of understanding how they have been affected by your work. It brings the human touch.

3. Influencing factors

Fortunately the amount of open data available makes it easier to consider how much of the impact can be attributed to your organisation’s activities and what benefits might constitute deadweight or displacement. This particularly useful if you are measuring the long-term impact of your work.

4. Valuing your impact

With a little extra investment of resources and time, you may consider undertaking an impact analysis and exploring the social return on investment. However, the steps you decide to take really depend on the scope and magnitude of your project and the resources you have available.

Bring your social impact journey to life with a story

Impact measurement needn’t be a series of numbers, tables and graphs. This is great news for the creative folk. Photo-journals, case studies, film, pressies and data visualisations are all effective ways of telling a story of the change and uncovering the social benefits that your target audience and stakeholder groups have experienced.

We will be sharing more insights on impact measurement at our Making Data Count Event on 3 December book here.

If you cannot make this date then please join our mailing list for future dates.

 

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