3 ways to measure impact to boost your nonprofit

Discover how to implement impact measurement strategies for your organization at the Propel Fellowship.

Impact measurement

Measuring impact is the compass to understand what our organization is achieving. Yet, it can be a headache to figure out how to apply it to our resources and talent. Here are some simple tools to help you start measuring the results of your programs from any sector.

Method #1: What is IMP and the 5 Impact Dimensions?

The Impact Management Project (IMP) is the process of identifying the positive and negative impact a project has on a community. Impact Frontiers considers it a key tool for identifying and reducing negative impact. Consider these 5 steps:

• Understand your approach through the 'what' dimension. What is the objective of your project?

• Clearly identify who in the community you are trying to support. What is the demographic?

• Investigate previous experiences in the area that you should consider in the planning and implementation of your program. What experiences and challenges has the community faced?

• Determine the final contribution your project has made. How does it improve their situation and why?

• Take into account the risks for your project and the outcomes you expect: What external factors may intervene in the results?

Method #2: The 3 Impact Dimensions: Scope, depth, and sustainability

This tool considers other impact dimensions that help define project effectiveness. It not only analyzes the number of people reached but also how much and for how long. Carla, from Stanford Social Innovation Review en Español, tells us she loves this method because it allows reflection and progress on each dimension simultaneously. Follow these points:

1. Quantify the scope of your impact. This question aims to find out the number of people who took part.

2. Measure the depth of the change. Here we want to find out to what extent the lives of those people were impacted.

3. Estimate the durability of that change. This refers to how sustainable those results were.

Method #3: Theory of Change

It's a more rigorous and comprehensive method, allowing for a visual representation of what we want to change and how we plan to do it. With this, we can define our indicators clearly and know the information to measure. Gabriel, from Kodea, a fellow of cohort 4 of the Propel Fellowship, recommends using it to have a coherent model in all its components. To implement it, follow these steps:

1. Identify the change process you are seeking to generate (north star).

2. Build the logical sequence of causes that will lead to that change.

3. Assign indicators for each stage. There are 3 types of indicators: activity, process (outputs), and result (outcomes).

With your results, you can use benchmark indicators to understand the problem you are addressing. Katia from Educate2Envision, a fellow of cohort 1, uses benchmarks on education in Honduras to compare with the results of her foundation. We recommend these 3 tools: IRIS metrics, Insights and Tableau Public.

Measuring impact is key to creating strong and effective initiatives that continue to close social gaps in Latin America. Additionally, you can complement any of these methods with digital tools and make your organization unstoppable.

At Propel Fellowship, we teach you how to implement technology in all your processes. Discover more here.

Written by Alexandra Guerra.