Improving impact management is an iterative process
This can make planning difficult. Estimating how long something will take when you’ve not done before is hard. That’s the position many grantees are in when developing theories of change or new impact management systems. Being flexible in project planning, being prepared to change tack, and leaving room for the unexpected can help.
Both charities and funders should not go into this expecting a quick solution. Many grantees have vocalized how the programme has made them realise that this is just the start of a much longer journey to increase impact.
Grantees have also found there are many ‘unknown unknowns’ that you can’t plan for until you get going. For example, designing a system is tricky when you don’t know what your outcomes are, and you might not know them until you start collecting data. Most have found its best to accept this—and just start small and pilot something.
‘One of the most useful pieces of learning…is the application of an agile, iterative growth plan…meaning our Board can maintain absolute oversight and control but also that we can manage the work and learn and refine quickly.’