Before you start, it’s good to define your reason for starting impact management. And what is the target group you want to communicate your impact to?
There are many reasons to start measuring your impact, and they can be both internally and externally motivated. Maybe you want to have an insight into your impact, and also make it visible, to communicate to your customers, suppliers or funders? Or just to motivate all employees by expressing the impact of their work? Measuring impact can also be used to gain insight into what (not) works and to improve on this, possibly by benchmarking with other organizations. The figure below provides an overview, and emphasizes that impact management aims not only to prove, but to improve.
It doesn’t matter why you want to measure your impact, be it for your CSR policy or for philanthropic reasons. The approach and the reasoning behind stay the same. It’s necessary for both aims. Because if you don’t measure your impact it’s the same as a commercial organization which does not know how much profit it makes.
Dr. Karen Maas
Erasmus University Amsterdam
You can measure your impact before, during or after the activity is carried out. It depends on what you want to achieve: do you want to identify the expected impact beforehand, test some hypotheses, or evaluate your operation.
In order to come up with a good impact question, it is important to know what the needs and wants of your target group are. In reality, too often activities are developed that have little effect because the solution was not sufficiently attuned to the problems, needs and context of the target group.
Some useful questions:
The value proposition canvas
To learn more about your target group, you can use the value proposition canvas as well.