What is your super power?
More and more we are seeking significance in our lives and in our careers, trying to identify opportunities to make a lasting impact on society and the world.
Each of us has gifts and talents that can make a lasting impact but not everyone knows how or where to use them. When we understand what it is we are passionate about and the difference we would like to make, it can change how we communicate, act, and make connections with others.
Charity Impact – the power of connecting passion with purpose
When it comes to impact, charities have a critical role in helping us to connect our passion with the impact that we could make. Charities give us a true sense of purpose and inspire us to use our gifts and talents for a greater good.
So what is Impact?
Impact is a concept that some find difficult to define. Simply stated, impact is the strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person.
In order to differentiate impact from outcomes or outputs, I find the performance chain can be a really useful tool. Using this tool can help you to sense check and define the different levels impact, outcomes and outputs for your organisation and have the confidence to communicate the differences to the audiences you are trying to engage.
When working on impact with charity clients, I have found one of the most useful distinctions is between Impact and Outcomes. Outcomes may be described as the ‘planned’ changes you would like to see, and Impact as the ‘bigger’ sustainable change in society.
With Impact, there is always a ‘time’ factor and often what makes impact most interesting – particularly to funders are the ‘unplanned changes’ that happen as a result of the actions you have taken as an organisation.
Why is Impact Important?
For me, understanding impact and its relationship to success is key, impact is at the core of the organisation with the potential to influence all aspects of sustainability. Here are some examples that might inspire you to think about how impact can help you to do things differently.
Accountability – Demonstrating impact helps people to trust what you do and how you do it
Marketing – Communicating impact is central to telling your story well
Fundraising – Understanding impact enables you to demonstrate you are making a difference
Stewardship – Impact is essential to deepen the level of engagement and inspire action
Partnership – Investment in impact helps to make the right connections at the right level
Culture – Clear organisational impact influences positive culture and contribution
For charities, Impact reporting is not a legal requirement however it is a great way to communicate the difference you have made with a range of target audiences, to celebrate success, to acknowledge the value of support and inspire others to act.
Individuals can be inspired by a cause but are often driven to act by the type of impact that can be made. In order to engage the individuals in your target audience it is important to understand the relationship between a Charity’s cause and the impact it makes.
Causal Impact is multi-dimensional, and these elements will mean different things to different people. It is important to identify which areas you would like to see sustainable change, for example this may be on the root cause, the perception of the cause or the environmental impact of the cause.
Asking some questions about your impact will help you to start to define the difference you are looking to make –
1. What you are passionate about?
2. Where do you want to see sustainable change?
3. Who else is passionate about this?
What do you think?
Today’s blog was expertly written by Kate Slack, Cempta Charity Solutions