Five key steps to becoming impact-led in the new environment

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Five key steps to becoming impact-led in the new environment

Written by Suzi Young | 20th May 2020

Every organisation can become more impact-led, and these are five key steps that will assist your group become more purpose- focused, responsive, effective and resilient in a post-COVID-19 world.

1. Get clarity on why you exist and who you exist for

This is the time to get clear about the reason for your existence. Who do you exist for? What change and value do you seek to create for them? What do they need now (and how well do you understand what they need now)? How is the COVID-19 crisis sharpening your understanding about what matters?

Have you got a theory of change that underpins your activity and/or strategy? If not, this would be a good time to think one through and document it.

Use it to develop your activities to respond to the outcomes and impact you seek.

If your organisation is wedded to a particular set of activities this will be harder to do. Get unstuck from what you do – and get clear about what value and change you seek to create and for whom.

2. Recognise this incredible opportunity, be courageous and adapt

Empower yourself and others around you to be courageous and think differently. The current crisis has already required rapid change, and change is painful and difficult for some. Recognise and nurture this opportunity for creativity. Recognise the choices available and don’t be a victim of the circumstances. Take action to create an organisational culture that empowers people to act with a clear purpose.

3. Be led by your stakeholders and your community

Now is the time to draw upon and build your relationship capital! How well do you understand what your people need at this time? How are you connecting with them? How can you design with them now? Have you reached out to your funders and partners? How can you collaborate in new ways to create value? Don’t go missing in action.

4. Be a learning organisation

Creating a learning and supportive culture will help ease the pain that goes with change. You will already have needed to learn new systems and ways of working, and your activities must continue to evolve. Some people will thrive in this dynamic and some will be challenged to the core. Create opportunities for reflection and enjoy the learning experience that we are all going through – you are not alone!

5. Tell others about your successes

Suzi Young's five key steps to becoming impact-led in the COVID-19 environment

Competition for scarce resources continues, and organisations that can engage funders and communicate the impact of their work are more likely to thrive. Getting the communication infrastructure in place will support transformation. How will funders know what changes you are making? How do your stakeholders know? How can more people get involved with your activities and contribute their time, talent and resources? This is the time to think about how you can communicate the difference you make. Telling your funders and partners about the impact your organisation is having will enable them to come along on the transformation journey and will help ensure accountability as well.
This case study and these steps won’t provide all the answers. But part of my aim is to ask pertinent questions, to promote conversations, and to spark some optimism.

After all, wouldn’t it be wonderful in the post-coronavirus world for the community sector to be looked to more often for leadership on how we shape our society?

With thanks to Our Community for their support in writing and publishing this article as part of the Save Our Sector campaign to help not-for-profits survive the pandemic. Read the original post here.