Today (Wednesday 19 March 2014) saw the launch of the Inspiring Impact NI Programme – an ambitious NI wide initiative that aims to change the way voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations and their funders think about impact and to put impact practice at the heart of their work by 2022.
Held in the Mac, Belfast, the event was attended by over 60 delegates from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors; as well as government, funders, academics and impact practitioners.
Inspiring Impact NI believes the difference an organisation makes is what’s important and is providing the knowledge and support for Northern Ireland’s community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations to consider, plan, measure and demonstrate the difference they make and to use impact information for learning and continual improvement.
The programme for Northern Ireland is linked to the UK wide Inspiring Impact Programme which is a coalition of some leading third sector organisations across the UK.
The Building Change Trust, as the Northern Ireland partner on the UK board, has committed £500,000 matched by a further £188,000 from the Department for Social Development, to deliver an initial two year programme of work which will support VCSE organisations and their funders to better understand and embrace impact practice.
Building Change Trust Director, Julie Harrison said: ‘The Trust is delighted to have made a significant investment in this initiative, which is ultimately about enabling community and voluntary organisations in NI, and their funders, to make more of a difference to the people and places they serve.’
Roy McGivern, Department for Social Development commented:
‘The Department is pleased to support the Inspiring Impact initiative in Northern Ireland. Its successful delivery can enable us to meet one of the key commitments in the Concordat between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector to implement an outcome-focused approach to funding.
‘It is vital that we can demonstrate the value of investments made in voluntary and community sector activity and to embed this approach across the public sector.’
Community Evaluation NI (CENI) has been commissioned as the Trust’s strategic partner to support the development and delivery of the Programme.
Speaking at the launch, Brendan McDonnell, CENI Director and Aongus O’Keeffe, Inspiring Impact NI Programme Leader, presented an overview of the Inspiring Impact NI Programme 2014-15.
In addition, products to support impact practice currently in development by partner organisations from Inspiring Impact UK were demonstrated. Gladys Swanton, CENI, presented ‘The Code of Good Impact Practice’ which defines and explains impact practice. Sam Matthews, CES UK explained ‘Measuring Up’ – an online tool to help organisations assess where they fit in terms of impact practice; and Tim Crabbe, Substance showcased an online ‘Resource Finder’ designed to assist organisations find information on a wide range of impact tools currently available.
Speaking at the launch Aongus O’Keeffe, Inspiring Impact NI Programme Leader said: ‘I am delighted to see the Inspiring Impact NI Programme being launched today – this has been the result of an extensive consultation exercise across the sector to identify how best to build on the work of Inspiring Impact UK and put it into practice in Northern Ireland.
‘Inspiring Impact NI aims to promote a holistic approach that is about supporting organisations and funders to plan for impact, learn from and use impact data to effect change.’