Measuring what matters

As a global society the lives of the majority are beset by disadvantage, inequity, conflict, hunger, environmental degradation and poverty. In so-called “developed nations” like Australia we still have 12% of our children experiencing poverty, 4 million people living with a disability and far too many facing the challenges of homelessness, exclusion, and disadvantage of many types.

Among all this there are many organisations and individuals doing amazing things – finding innovative solutions to complex problems – creating real change where none existed before. Yet which ones are creating the most (and least) change? How do we know where to direct our efforts? What works and what doesn’t? To answer these questions we need to measure social impact – so we know whether we are making a difference.

What does “making a difference” really mean?

When you put your resources, effort, and heart and soul into some kind of effort to “make a difference” you really want to know the answer to 5 big questions (and a few sub-questions). These are the Think Impact questions about “how to make a difference”:

  1. What difference am I trying to make? What is my “theory of change”? How does what I am doing connect with the changes arising from it?
  2. Am I making a difference? Does any real change arise as a result of my inputs, and if so, how much?
  3. Is it the “right” difference? Is the difference I am making the one that is most needed? Is it the change sought by the intended beneficiaries and others?
  4. Can we see the difference we are making? Can I rigorously demonstrate to myself and others how we create change and how much? Do I have the right tools and resources to communicate the difference we are making?
  5. How can I make more difference? Can I encourage supporters to help more? Can I encourage others with similar goals to help, and involve them constructively? Can I refine what I am doing to make change more effectively? Can I influence the policy environment to help make more change?

How Think Impact can help

Answering the 5 Big Questions can be a bit daunting and there are several methodologies which can help. So which methodology is best? How will it help your organisation or the organisations you support? Is it worth the time, effort and expense?

The Think Impact team will steer you through the jargon and deliver a rigorous, unique and compelling social impact analysis. Our use of documentary filmmaking techniques mean you don’t get to just measure your impact – you can actually see it …and share it.

See also:

Impact documentaries - Making your impact visible

Impact maximisation – Helping you make more impact

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