The usefulness and reliability of our impact measurement is dependent on the quality of the stakeholder engagement it draws on. The purpose of stakeholder engagement is to help identify the most important outcomes to the community, the organisation and its partners; and to set out an understanding of those outcomes that has been informed by stakeholders.
Theory of change mapping
This approach maps out in theory how the organisation is achieving social impact. The maps were based on conversations with staff, project partners, funders and people who attended our activities. The aim of the conversations was to explore individual experiences of what changed (if anything) as a result of engaging with Manor House Development Trust and the importance of this change to them.
Our Theory of Change Map
Defining indicators to measure change
This is challenging for outcomes which are hard to define, for example someone reporting they feel more empowered or happier. Our approach to tackle this issue is:
- Carrying out focus groups to ask people what change means to them. For example, if someone said they feel more confident as a result of a project, they were asked what has tangibly changed for them as a result. This approach allowed us to define outcomes in a way that has meaning for our beneficiaries.
- Researching how other organisations measure change like empowerment and wellbeing. This allowed us to use UK-comparable indicators used by HACT, New Economics Foundation and others.
- Articulating how the organisation defines change. Through the mapping exercise, we were able to create a Terms of Reference which describes time-based and measurable changes we are aiming for to achieve the Vision.