Impact Measurement and Management is sometimes viewed as a burden, something "nice" to show to funders or investors without actually improving services and results of the organisation. We believe that IMM is value-creating and an essential component to every company who wishes to have a social or environmental impact. The key is to link the results of the measurement to the design and execution of the strategy in an effective way to improve both business and impact performance. In that way, we move away from passive impact measurement towards more proactive impact management.
Why Manage and Measure your Impact?
- Increase impact performance - enable informed action and better decision making centred on the stakeholder,
- Allow midcourse corrections (monitoring) while also assessing progress (evaluation through scorecards, randomised control trials, etc,),
- Align expectations with reality: compare raw data vs anticipated objective (there often is a substantial gap),
- Raise stakeholder voice - understand the view of the stakeholder better (core of a successful business) and how he will benefit more from your business,
- Understand the drivers of impact,
- Allocating resources more efficiently,
- Communicate your impact results (in a comparable way) with qualitative facts and data which demonstrates integrity.
Challenges of Impact Measurement and Management (IMM)
- There is still a large variation in IMM approaches (150+ tools, resources, and methods) and lack of common standards and currency in measurement,
- The importance of high quality IMM data practice and reporting is not always taken seriously therefore a great deal of money and time has been wasted on poorly designed, poorly implemented, and poorly conceived impact evaluations. (Ex.: failure to establish causality, to engage stakeholders, to use qualitative data),
- Qualitative and unbiased data isn't always available which means processes need to be put in place first to obtain it,
- Sophistication, time consumption (it can take years to bear results) and cost of IMM practice,
- Availability of experienced professionals with IMM skills.