Getting better at what you do, with increasing impact, should be the goal of every social enterprise.
This is an ongoing process that can be supported by an evidence-based culture and continuing improvements in impact practice.
The attitude of the people that lead your social enterprise is crucial. It requires a good shared understanding on their part of the value of data, as well as the skills in place to interpret and use this data, and the willingness to act on the evidence available.
This commitment doesn’t stop at the top. Ideally, everyone in the organization should have a shared understanding of the mission, their responsibility to help deliver impact through their work, and to playing their part in showing this work makes a difference.
Here are some things that might help strengthen impact culture and practice in your social enterprise:
- Communicate why impact measurement matters to the organization, and continually reinforce this message.
- Refocus board meetings to ensure time to review evidence of impact and progress towards delivering on your mission.
- Ensure that someone in the organization is taking the lead on measuring performance and impact.
- Involve staff in any plans for measuring impact, and build consensus on how plans are best implemented.
- Ensure that everyone is familiar with the main impact measurement concepts, approaches and methods.
- Build ongoing data collection into everyone’s job responsibilities, tasks and systems.
- Provide additional training and support where necessary to ensure that adequate knowledge and skills are in place.
- Recognise and reward achievements, building this into staff performance reviews and appraisals.
- Schedule in regular time to review, learn and improve on impact measurement activities.
- Be seen to act on the performance and impact data you gather, and continue to reinforce the benefits of good data.
Try to make this part of a long-term commitment, to ensure a positive cycle of planning, action, reflection, and learning. Start off by keeping things simple and continue to develop your approach.
Course 10 in the Impact Practice series from the Social Enterprise Institute covers these and other ideas.