4. Planning Your Intended Change /

4.1 Establishing your intended impact


We can describe the ultimate change (the impact) we are working towards.

To meet the standard in full, you have identified the end result you want to achieve through your work. This will fulfil your mission. It is the broad, long-term change you are striving for; the change that matters most to your stakeholders.

If you don’t know the impact your social enterprise is working towards, it will be really difficult measure and report on it.

We use the term impact to mean the ultimate or final result of the work of your organization – the biggest, most broad-ranging change you hope to see. This is the big change that matters most to your stakeholders.

Impact can be thought of as the flipside of your mission. If your mission is what you hope to achieve, then your impact is what you actually achieve. You can find out more about mission statements in Section 1.4.

For example, your intended impact might be to improve health, create a more engaged community, or improve living standard. These are the type of impacts that are described in the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, as central to wellbeing:

  • Community vitality
  • Civic engagement
  • Education
  • Environmental improvement
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Leisure and culture
  • Living standards

The broad and long-term changes you hope for are subject to many influences, some of which might be outside of the control of your organization. For example, there may be many factors that determine the health of someone, only one of which is the program that you are delivering.

An impact can be quite subjective and difficult to measure. That’s why outcomes are so important in impact measurement. Outcomes are finite and measurable changes that lead to your impact. We discuss these further in Section 4.2.