Impact management is a core process for every organisation. Generating a positive impact is the reason why many organisations exist, and yet it is often neglected in favour of more urgent management priorities.
At KIT, we offer strategic, tailor-made advice that helps our clients manage, monitor and improve their social impact. In doing this, we use lessons learned from international best practices and scientific evidence. We also help clients shape their impact by collaboratively developing theories of change, providing evidence-based advice on design, and monitoring progress towards their goals.
Central in our approach is taking the time to get to know our clients, building long term relationships, and taking our clients on an impact journey. Together, we identify needs, objectives and formulate solutions based on evidence.
Typically we like to take our clients on the following path:
Constructing a Theory of Change
Any effort to manage and improve impact requires a clear articulation of your goals and how these goals can be achieved. We see a well-articulated Theory of Change (ToC) as the starting point for impact management.
Theory of Change Workshop
If there is no ToC in place, we recommend constructing a ToC in a workshop. Depending on the time available, these workshops focus on identifying the following elements:
- Long term goals
- Theoretical and causal pathways, through backward mapping from the long term goal
- The intervention’s result chain (or intervention logic)
- Critical assumptions underlying the causal pathways and external factors that can influence the intended outcomes
The ToC shapes and informs further knowledge needs of the client. It alsohelps to make impactful design decisions grounded in evidence-based programming, to adjust the design (based on monitoring), or to learn from past experiences (evaluation).
We regularly support our clients with evidence-based programming: using data analysis and existing evidence to inform critical design decisions to maximise impact. This regards, for example, analysing the needs and challenges faced by target groups, evidence on the effectiveness of certain interventions in specific contexts, and validating the critical assumptions made by the programme.
Assessing existing data
Together with our partners, we assess what information is needed to inform programme design. Since we believe that data is often already available, we start by assessing the data the client already has. Where possible, we also use existing KIT data and peer-reviewed literature.
Monitoring and Evaluation Support
In co-designing M&E frameworks with clients, we consider two main objectives: accountability and learning. KIT considers it important not to collect data for the sake of collecting data and ticking boxes. Data collection is a learning opportunity, which can help the programme team shape and adapt its interventions when necessary. The data we collect reflects the reality; the changes, the effects and the impact of interventions; telling the stories from the ground, but simultaneously answering the needs of clients and donors for information.
Facilitating documentation and publication
In addition, depending on the client’s needs, we can facilitate knowledge documentation, ghost-writing and publication of lessons learned. The audience of the publication is jointly decided with the client.
Once it has been agreed what results to monitor, how to evaluate the intervention, and what should be part of the learning agenda, indicators can be identified. The indicators must be measurable, clear, specific, attainable and useful to the programme. As such the SMART principles are useful in defining indicators. Where possible KIT recommends the use of internationally-accepted indexes to objectively measure indicators.